Queensbridge’s finest took a break from working on his next album, Life is Good, to tell TheBoomBox what he thinks about the current state of hip hop. When asked his opinion on the latest crop of stars, he was positive: “They are great. I love them. And I think they’re trying to find their way as I was at one point. Most of them are taking too long to figure out who they are, but it’ll come around if it’s meant to be for them,” Nas said. “I love Odd Future. Frank Ocean is a great dude. He’s amazing. He’s my favorite new guy in the world. Drake is, man, what can he not do? He can sing, he can rap, and he talks about real s--t. What’s better than that, man? I love it.”
But he does think that the genre can use some new inspiration, “There’s just too much garbage out there. Too much,” he said. “Too many artists rap about money. I think that’s the problem. I don’t think everyone should just do it, but that’s what people want to hear. When you’re in a club, you don’t want to hear the blues. You don’t want to hear my life is messed up. You want to hear ‘racks on racks on racks.’ Even if you don’t have thousands of dollars in your pocket, you want to feel like you do, and those songs make you feel like you do.”
He’s hoping his new album can be the anecdote the industry needs. “I released a record this summer called ‘Nasty,’ and it was the vibe of the ’90s. To me, it was a sound that kind of inspired Kanye and Jay-Z’s [Watch the Throne]. Let’s get back to hip hop. I needed to tap into that side of me again. It was just screaming to come out. I’m excited. I want this to be the best album of the year,” Nas said.
Though the title of his 2006 album was Hip Hop Is Dead, Nas thinks the art form is still among the living: “I think the spirit of hip hop is alive. It’s alive. And with that, there’s always hope.”
(Photo: John Ricard)