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Compositions & Coffee Presents: "Creative Soul Digest"

Beast Coast Wednesday

What up Fam welcome back! For this edition of Beast Coast Wednesday we are swinging to the East Coast to discuss another prominent figure that influenced the sound and culture of rap and hip hop in the 90s. The talent and impact of Nas has been seriously underrated. From his off-beat conversational flow to his honest telling of triumphs and tribulations in the black community this emcee is a legend. He has influenced so many lyricist and current artist have name dropped him as a major influence in their musical career. Let’s start by looking at what made Nas…

The Story of Nasty Nas

Born Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones in his career he has been known by Nasty Nas, Nas Ecobar, and eventually just Nas. Nas began his musical journey at an early age playing the trumpet and writing his own lyrics. He educated himself about African culture through his affiliation with NGE (a cross between Nation of Islam and Nuwaubian Movement). He was born in the Brooklyn boroughs and his family relocated to Queensbridge House in the borough of Queens. His lyrics about inner city struggle spawns from his upbringing in Queens.

He began making music with his friend as a teenager after dropping out of school in 8th grade. He did his first performance in 1991 and went on to release his debut album Illmatic in 1994. Illmatic had hits like ‘The World is Yours’, ‘It Ain’t Hard to Tell’, and ‘One Love’. The Source awarded his album Best Album of the year. He was renowned for his ability to convey the bleak reality of the ghetto without losing hope and with perfect intelligibility. His second album It Was Written managed to tell coherent stories but held no contest to Illmatic. Released in 1996 It Was Written is known for major hits such as 'If I Ruled the World/ Imagine That' featuring Lauryn Hill and 'Street Dreams'. This album also debut The Firm a group that featured Nas, AZ, Foxy Brown, and Cormega. We were also taken into the world of his persona Nas Ecobar which was all about the "Scarface type" lifestyle. This was different from Illmatic which was more about his early life growing up in the projects. It Was Written put him in the mainstream hip-hop game. Nas has put out 12 albums since then and is currently working on his 13th album. His music has been about his life, perseverance and pride despite injustice, and he is known as an artist who thrives off reinvention, ultimately going against the system. Besides his ability to portray life on the streets and send messages of perseverance and hope his lyrical technique has been compared to that of Rakim. He is a master storyteller and has done autobiographies, allegorical tales, rapped in the voice of a woman, and voice of a gun. He has continued to transfigure gangsta rap making it more conversational. He has been ranked 5th on MTV’s 10 Greatest MCs of All Time and number 2 on The Source’s Top 50 Lyricists of All Time.

Much like 2 Pac, whom he also sights as inspiration, Nas believes in making the struggle known, speaking truth, while pushing for change. Beyond the music, Nas has partnered with Koru to fund scholarships to college graduates. He is also a spokesperson and mentor for P’Tones Records, a non-profit after school music program. That’s just naming a few of the things he’s involved in outside of the hip-hop game. He’s a legend for all the right reasons.

Lyrics and Music

Like last week with Pac here are some of the lines from my favorite songs...

So many years of depression make me vision the better livin type of place to raise kids in open they eyes to the lies history told foul

Cause you could have all the chips, be poor or rich still nobody want a n***a havin sh*t If I ruled the world and everything in it, sky’s the limit I push a Q-4-5 infinite it wouldn’t be no such thing as jealousies or be felony strictly living longevity to the destiny

All I need is one blunt one page and one pen one prayer tell God forgive for one sin matter fact maybe more than one look back at all the hatred against me, f**k all of them Jesus died at age 33, there’s thirsty three shots

Be, be-fore we came to this country we were kings and queens, never porch monkeys there were empires in African called Kish Timbuktu, where every race came to get books.

If the truth is told, the youth can grow they’ll learn to survive until they gain control nobody says you have to be gangstas, h**s read more, learn more, change the globe ghetto children do your thing hold your head up, little man you’re a king young princess when you get your wedding ring your man is saying she’s my queen

Who’s world is this? The world is yours the word is yours it’s mine it’s mine it’s mine.

Born alone, die alone no crew to keep my crown or throne I’m deep by sound alone, caved inside, 1000 miles from home I need a new N***a for this black cloud to follow cause while it’s over me it’s too dark to see tomorrow.

Alright folks get ready for the real throwback, bob with the beat, and raise the first of power. Go listen up on some Nas and Beast your way through the rest of this day. Check out the recommendations below and share some of your favorite songs in the comments below. Enjoy the day and...

--Be Free

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