If there's ever been a rap artist as celebrated for his lyrics as Nasir Jones, we haven't heard him.
Whether you were there from "Live at the BBQ" or jumped on board with Illmatic, whether you were first exposed when "Oochie Wally" hit radio or when he beefed with Jay-Z, Nas has always been known first and foremost as a lyricist.
He's a rapper with—and this is no slight—a pretty narrow range of subjects. The true variety and inspired storytelling he's managed to wring from such a thin band of topics (death, violence, success) is no small feat. He's adept at navigating the relationship between the concrete and the spiritual, the streets and psychology, the real and the mythological. It's to his credit that, even when telling a story, it has a gritty, hard-nosed realism that few peers can match.
And even then, sometimes, when he flipped the script entirely, Nas was still making rap verses well out of the range of the typical MC. What follows is the best of the best: The greatest rhymes from the canon of a rap artist who will forever rank amongst the genre's best. The 50 Best Nas Verses.