Date: December 2001

Nas has gone through several different eras through the years—but his career can be divided into the pre-"Ether" era and post-"Ether" eras. The pre-"Ether" era includes Illmatic and It Was Written as well as the more commercial attempts, I Am... and Nastradamus, and lots of obvious attempts at radio play. The post-"Ether" era features the rapper that Nas turned into once he stepped up and responded to Jay Z's devastating diss song "Takeover" and decided to battle him once and for all. That's not to say that everything Nas has done since "Ether" has been great. But his epic battle with Jay Z helped re-establish his place in the rap game and it stands as one of the reasons he's still mentioned whenever the "G.O.A.T." discussion starts up.