Verse: Verse 1
Best Line: "You couldn't catch me in the streets with out a ton of reefer/That's like Malcolm X catchin' the jungle fever."
First released in 1992, a full two years prior to Illmatic, "Halftime" landed on the Zebrahead soundtrack A&R'd by MC Serch. As an introduction to the man then known as "Nasty Nas," the song joined Main Source's "Live at the Barbecue" in creating buzz for the emerging rapper. Musically, it ain't hard to tell why it was such an impressive introduction; the song balanced playful, buoyant wordplay over an obstacle course of syllables that had an almost celebratory fluency. While verse two was the larger, more exuberant passage, verse one was the tightest and most impressive. It established who he was and what he came to do: Nike-head, reefer addict, from the 40-side of Queens, he had the mad fat fluid when he rhymed at "Halftime."
34. Nas "Halftime" (1992)