The Queensbridge, New York born and raised Hip Hop icon who captured a generation’s ears with his lyrically exceptional debut album Illmatic in ’94, Nasir “Nas” Jones is the latest to go under the spotlight for VH1‘s Behind The Music series.
It’s rare you’ll see the rapper open up in interviews but here he discusses a range of sensitive subjects; from losing his best friend to bullets, his mother’s death and reuniting with his father to his rap beef [and squashing it] with Jay-Z and his relationship and divorce with singer Kelis, revealing of the birth of their son that he discovered she was in labour via TMZ.com.
With contributions from friends, family and musical peers, Behind The Music: Nas features input from his younger brother Jungle, Rakim [whose studio Nas used to record demos with Large Professor], DJ Premier, Russell Simmons ["he was like the second coming"], Salaam Remi, Common ["he created imagery that I had never heard a rapper describe"], Q-Tip ["it felt like the hood finally had its manifesto; if you wanna understand what the psyche is for a young African American male, you listen to Illmatic"], Damian Marley and Steve Stoute, among others.
His closing words: “I think I’m the living proof that you can stick to your guns and do it how you want to do it, and remain sucker free. You can just be you and do you – and not let nobody mess with your flow. Forget the cash, forget the cars, forget all of that stuff… the first thing is the music.“
Set aside 41 minutes and watch the full episode below.
Catch up on previous VH1 Behind The Music episodes with Akon, Missy Elliott, Aaliyah, T-Pain, Christina Aguilera, DMX and more here.