Song: "The World Is Yours" (1994)
Album: Illmatic

Nas might've been a street rapper—the street rapper's rapper, even—but it was always made clear that he was an intellectual and an introvert; sure, a nasty motherfucker you don't want running up on you, but also, someone with deep thoughts. The opening bars of "The World is Yours"-and Nas's third single, the one that truly catapulted him to rap fame-captured everything that made Nas, Nas. From the extent of his inspirations (booze and Ghandi) to the medium of his expression (Bic-filled notebooks) in one opening salvo, if you didn't know Nas, now you knew. Queensbridge brought it different.