Nas Says Hip-Hop Peers His Age Don’t Inspire Him to Make Music

In a new interview with Stephen Colbert, Nas says his fellow hip-hop veterans don't inspire him to create, but has found himself energized by Hit-Boy.

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Nas isn’t slowing down. The 49-year-old rapper has been in the game for over 30 years and has still been dropping a steady stream of projects, including his latest, King’s Disease III.

When asked by Stephen Colbert who inspires the rapper, he said he isn’t pushed to create by his peers because a lot of them aren’t actively sharing new work. 

“I’m really trying to figure out what my next move is, and I feel like a lot of hip-hop artists my age are not putting out a lot of material, so I can’t look to them as reference,” Nas said around the 5:50 minute mark. “They kind of slowed down—for whatever reasons,” he continued. “I understand it’s a tough thing, but I got bit by the bug, man.”

“I collaborated with this cat Hit-Boy who’s like the best, and he’s produced all of those albums: King’s Disease I, II, III. We’re kind of inspiring ourselves at this point. It’s really interesting,” Nas added.

In the last two-and-a-half years, Nas has released three King’s Disease installations, executive produced by himself and Hit-Boy. In between King’s Disease II and III, the Queens rapper shared Magic, also produced by Hit-Boy. The first King’s Disease project, which arrived in 2020, won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album, becoming Nas’ first Grammy.

When Colbert asked Nas what Hit-Boy has that inspires him, the rapper said, “youth,” with a laugh. “He’s younger than me. I’m hooking up my jumper cables to him—and this is reciprocal because he’s getting some kind of wisdom from me. We’re just a perfect match.”

King’s Disease III arrived in November and debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard 200. This Friday, Nas is gearing up to play his first-ever show—for one night only—at Madison Square Garden in honor of the album.

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