As if the Ball family hadn't done enough to anger the powers that be, Lonzo Ball's recent diss of Nas sent the public into hysterics. Discrediting the work of a legend in the same breath that you're giving props to Future and Migos angered a lot of hip-hop purists, who are not a forgiving bunch to begin with.
Now we finally have some clarification on his comments, and they don't sound as harsh as they came across originally. During a radio interview with Marcellus Wiley and Kelvin Washington on ESPNLA, Ball said he was only discussing Nas' current popularity among the people he's friends with.
"They told me that the goal for the next two months was [to get me to listen] to real hip-hop, I replied that's not gon' happen, and the first person who popped into my head was Nas, because obviously he's real hip-hop."
"So I'm like, nobody listens to Nas no more, which I think is true, because of my friends ain't nobody bumping Nas no more, no disrespect to him. He had his time, I just think it's a new time. And then the next question was, what is real hip-hop to you? And I said real hip-hop is Future and Migos, so that's how it all went down."
"Everybody went crazy with it, but that's my side right there."
While Ball did clear up that he believes Nas is real hip-hop, I would have to question any group of friends who listen to rap music and don't have some sort of Nas music on a Spotify playlist, even if it's just a song or two. There's plenty to choose from here, whether it's "New York State of Mind," "If I Ruled the World," "One Mic," "Made You Look," or any number of classic Nas records from over the years.
No one would really debate that Nas is still at the forefront of the game anymore, and younger artists have certainly pushed him further down the pecking order. So Ball's claim may sound a bit dismissive, but ultimately he's probably right about his popularity. His last album, 2012's Life is Good, did peak at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, but it remains his lowest-selling album to date.
In any case, Nas doesn't seem all that concerned about what a teenager thinks of him anyway. His manager claims the rapper doesn't even know who Ball is, and as long as that Hennessy cash keeps rolling in, Nas seems content to lurk in the background as he prepares to release his next album, which is nearly completed.