The 50 Best Debut Rap Singles

19. Nasty Nas "Halftime" (1992)

Producer: Large Professor
Album: Zebrahead Soundtrack
Label: Ruffhouse

Nasir Jones grabbed the full attention of hip-hop heads by flipping similes and handling boastful overtones as a teenager on Main Source's "Live at the BBQ," but it was the lyrical declaration of "Halftime" that solidified his presence as a true force to be reckoned with.

Initially featured on the soundtrack for the 1992 film Zebrahead, and subsequently his magnum opus Illmatic, the Queensbridge MC lived up to his "Nasty Nas" moniker with unapologetic wordplay ("You couldn't catch me in the streets without a ton of reefer/That's like Malcolm X catching the jungle fever") and a seamless delivery to match. This all over a ridiculous boom bap beat from Large Professor that still blows out speakers to this day. We're not saying Busta Rhymes couldn't have done it justice, but God's Son spoke his legacy into existence with this transcendent cut. - Edwin Ortiz

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