Album: Illmatic
Verse: Verse 1
Best Line: "I never sleep 'cause sleep is the cousin of death."

Growing up in the largest housing project in the US, Nas saw some shit. As a storyteller, few rappers come close and that's especially clear in his first verse on "NY State of Mind." Crime is that state of mind, as he says to knock out the run of vignettes that populate the verse, and it's shaped who he became and the rapper that he is. Seeing young'ns busting out the 45s makes him reminisce, at the tender age of 20, about the game in his day. At the end, though, NY is his home, and he reps for it like few do. Say Queensbridge.