Best Line: "Yo I got guns from Italy, smoke trees considerably."
The sounds of Surface's late-'80s R&B hit "Happy" sound more enigmatic and ethereal than the song's title suggests. A baton pass from the elder Kool G Rap to Nas, "Fast Life" marked one in a growing number of moments where Nas' scope shifted from the everday street corner to a more mythic, widescreen-cinematic perspective. The song begins with a Scarface sample and a verse from G Rap, and ends with him and Nas exchanging bars. In the middle, though, is one of Nas' finest verses, the connection between the streets and wealth and success: "The ghetto misery, shootouts and liquors stores / perpendicular angle of a clout war." And all the wealth built on top of that misery: "poppin' cristal like it's my first child," "twenty-four carats counting cabbage," "Lex bubble, full insurance." In his own success ("The marriage of me and the mic is just like magic,") he sees a parallel in the lives of the gangsters he shouts out at the track's conclusion.
37. Kool G Rap f/ Nas "Fast Life" (1995)