Nas recently sat down with NBC New York's Cat Greenleaf for an episode of Talk Stoop, where the rapper opened up about the N-word, the state of hip hop and how he feels about turning 40.
"It's a benchmark on many levels," he said about his milestone birthday. "I've accomplished so much, two beautiful children, done so much in my life. I survived."
When asked what mantras he lives by, he listed "Life is good," "Your children are your true gifts" and "Never stop, never settle," which happens to be the tagline for Nas' Hennessy campaign. Mr. Jones also opened up about how hip hop has changed over the last decades.
"Today it's kind of lost integrity, it's lost its meaning, it's lost its love, which is why I made the Hip Hop Is Dead album," he said. As for the aggressiveness that is often presented in song lyrics and the glorification of the thug life, Nas said, "It kind of pushes you. It doesn't make all people want to go grab a gun and go do what the lyric says, but it kind of makes you say, 'I'm tough, I can survive out there.' So it's needed."
Greenleaf then mentioned the controversy surrounding Nas' 2008 album that was originally titled N----r and asked for advice on what to say when her two adopted African-American children grow up and ask her about the word.
"The truth," he said. "I mean you know what it's like, you've been around, you know what racism is, you know what discrimination is. You have your job cut out for you, you know, but it's great that you can tell them because you come from a different cultural background, you can research it together and experience it together and get a whole different answer for both of yourselves."
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(Photo: NBC/Talk Stoop)