Nas “The World Is Yours” (1994)

Album: Illmatic

Label: Columbia

Pete Rock: “I met Nas through Large Professor because he was from Queens. When I was hanging out in Queens, he would take me all over meeting different people and different rappers. Once I met Nas, he brought Nas up to my house, and we were going through music, and I played him ‘The World Is Yours’ beat.

”It wasn’t nothing at the time, it was just a beat that he heard that he liked. But it was a great piano riff, and he wanted to make the song. He had the idea of me singing in the chorus on it. He told me, ‘I want you to sing it.’ I told him, ‘Nah, I’m not singing, I’m not a singer.’ But he made me do it, and it came out the way it is now.

“Large knew that he had a jewel [in Nas]. And once I started working with him, he just had me on board. I was already convinced [of his talents] after that. The album started coming together when we started hearing each other’s work.

”Once I heard ‘One Love’ I was like, ‘Wow, this is dope.’ And Premier said when he heard ‘The World Is Yours,’ he went back and made ‘Represent.’ We were all kind of in competition with the music for a great rapper. No one will ever stop talking about Illmatic.”