“Nas is Like” 3/2/1999

“Nas is Like” 3/2/1999-The Nas that we have come to know was born Nasir Bin Olu Dara Jones on 9/14/73 in Brooklyn. He had one sibling Jabari Fret aka “Jungle” from Braveheart’s. They were raised by their father Olu who was a jazz and blues musician and their mother Fannie aka “Little” who was a postal worker. The family moved to Queensbridge where Nasir met neighbor Ill Will who sparked his interest in hip hop. Nasir dropped out of school after the eighth grade but educated himself on African culture. In his teen years he teamed up with Ill Will who became his DJ and at the time Nas called himself Kid Wave. Large Professor produced some of his early tracks which he recorded at the same studio as Rakim and Kool G Rap. MC Serch from 3rd Bass became his manager in 1992 and they inked a deal with Columbia Records. His debut solo “Halftime” was released under his new name “Nasty Nas”. The song was featured in Serch’s soundtrack for the film “Zebrahead”.
Nas dropped his debut album “Illmatic” in 1994 which quickly received 5 Mics from the Source. It featured Large Pro, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, L.E.S. and DJ Premier produced tracks along with 1 featured artist AZ. With the popularity of “The World Is Yours”, “It Ain’t Hard to Tell”, “One Love”, “N.Y. State of Mind” and “Halftime” the album blew up. His second album “It Was Written” came on July 2nd 1996 also under Columbia (who pressured Nas to create more commercial music). With chief producer Tone and Poke of Trackmasters they created memorable tracks “If I Ruled the World (Imagine that)” with Lauren Hill, “Street Dreams”, “the Message”, and “I Gave You Power”. With Hype Williams directing 2 videos Nas became a household name. His next venture was “The Firm” which was a super group with Foxy Brown, AZ, Cormega and then Nature who were signed to Dr. Dre’s Aftermath. Mega was fired after a dispute with Steve Stoute and was quickly replaced by Nature to finish the album. The album dropped in 1997 and even though they made bangers such as “Phone Tap”, “Executive Decisions” and “Desperados” the album had mixed reviews and they all went their separate ways after.

Next up Nas dropped his 3rd studio album “I Am…” which dropped April 6, 1999 and be certified 2X platinum. It spawned 2 singles “Hate Me Now” with Puffy and “Nas is Like”. “Nas is Like” was one of two tracks that were produced by DJ Premier. In fact it was the sixth collaboration between the 2. The single dropped on March 2nd 1999, and it took until 2008 for the true origin of the samples that DJ Premier used to be discovered. John Rydgren and Bob R. Way’s 1966 song “What Child Is This” from their record “Thoughts on the Carols” was later discovered to be the mystery sample. The popular single also contained samples from ‘It Ain’t Hard To Tell”, and ‘Street Dreams” along with bird chirps from Don Robertson’s song “Why” and vocal samples from “Nobody Beats the Biz”. The video was directed by Nick Quested and features Ron Artest, Nature & Bravehearts. It reached #86 on the Hot Billboard 100, and #3 on the Rap Songs Chart.

Freedom or jail, clip’s inserted, a baby’s being born
Same time a man is murdered, the beginning and end
As far as rap go, it’s only natural I explain
My plateau, and also, what defines my name
First it was Nasty, but times have changed
Ask me now, I’m the artist, but hardcore, my science for pain
I spent time in the game, kept my mind on fame
Saw fiends shoot up and do lines of cocaine
Saw my close friends shot, flatline am I sane?
That depends, carry Mac-10’s to practice my aim
On rooftops, tape CD covers to trees
Line the barrel up with your weak picture then squeeze
Street scriptures for lost souls, in the crossroads
To the corner thugs hustling for cars that cost dough
To the big dogs living large, taking in light
Pushing big toys, getting nice, enjoying your life
Is what you make it, suicide, few try to take it
Belt tied around their neck in jail cells naked
Heaven and hell, rap legend, presence is felt
And of course N-A-S are the letters that spell
“Nas is like” Earth, Wind & Fire, rims and tires
Bulletproof glass, inside is the realest driver
Planets in orbit, line ’em up with the stars
Tarot cards, you can see the pharaoh Nas
“Nas is like” Iron Mike, messiah type
Before the Christ, after the death
The last one left, let my cash invest in stock
Came a along way from blasting, tecs on blocks
Went from Seiko to Rolex, owning acres
From the projects with no chips, to large cake dough
Dimes, giving fellatio, siete zeros
Bet my nine spit for the pesos
But what’s it all worth, can’t take it with you under this Earth
Rich men died and tried, but none of it worked
They just rob your grave, I’d rather be alive and paid
Before my number’s called, history’s made
Some’ll fall, but I rise, thug or die
Making choices, that determine my future under the sky
To rob steal or kill, I’m wondering why
It’s a dirty game, is any man worthy of fame?
Much success to you, even if you wish me the opposite
Sooner or later we’ll all see who the prophet is
“Nas is like” Sex to a nympho, but nothing sweet
I’m like beef, bustin heat through your windows
I’m like a street sweeper, green leaf breather
Like Greeks in Egypt, learning somethin deep from they teachers
I’m like crime, like your nine, your man you would die for
Always got you, I’m like Pac dude you would cry for
I’m like a whole lot of loot, I’m like crisp money
Corporate accounts from a rich company
I’m like ecstasy for ladies, I’m like all races
Combined in one man; like the ’99 summer jam
Bulletproof Hummer man
I’m like being locked down around new faces, and none of ’em fam
I’m the feeling of a millionaire spending a hundred grand
I’m a poor man’s dream, a thug poet
Live it and I write down and I watch it blow up
Y’all know what I’m like, y’all play it your system every night

Johnny V

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