The Definitive Nas Song List (Part 3) #25-1

#25. Deja Vu – It’s ironic that this song is titled “Deja Vu”, because you’ll probably have deja vu when you listen to Nas opening verse on the song “Verbal Intercourse” by Raekwon…

#24. Daughters – One of the side effects of rap being around for 30 plus years is you start to breech topics you never thought would ever be spoken on. This is a song about raising a teenage daughter… In all my years of listening to hip hop, this was a first for me. That being said, I love that this song exist, and there’s no better person to deliver this song then “Nasty” Nas himself. He probably regrets having that “nickname” now.

#23. Affirmative Action ft. The Firm – The group “The Firm” was once a “super group” in the late 90’s made up of Nas, AZ, Foxy Brown, and Cormega/Nature. This was their first, and best song as a group IMO. The way AZ starts this track off “hot”, might be the “highlight” for me. The instrumental on this track is simple (its sounds like a ringing bell), but the way everything ebbs and flows throughout the entire track is perfect. The words “nineties”, and “grimy” both come to mind.

#22. Get Down – It’s nice to hear a James Brown sample here. James Brown and hip hop go together like peanut butter and jelly. I like the snippet at the end of this song. “If this is how we get down, how are we supposed to get up?”. Preach!…

#21. Surviving the Times – What is the one topic all rappers discuss at some point in their rap career? An “origin story”, some MC’s might touch on it barely. Others like Nas go into great detail. This song almost has too many details. He throws a little “shade” at Russell Simmons, but for the most part Nas is “straight business” with this track…

#20. Take It In Blood – This track samples the voice of the legendary rap pioneer Kool Keith. For that reason alone this song deserves to be in the top 20…

 #19. One Love – Nas debut album “Illmatic” had some of the best music producers in rap history on it. Q Tip is one of those aforementioned producers, and is responsible for this xylophone inspired beat you hear throughout this song. Nas raps this one like hes writing a letter to one of his “home boyz” in prison. He carry’s on a one sided dialogue throughout the entire song, and is only occasionally interrupted by Q Tip singing out “one love” on the hook. Making a rap song with this “premise” isn’t easy, and I applaud Nas for tackling this “real” life topic with ease.

#18. Rewind – The length of a song is generally a good indicator of a song’s importance, but the same can’t be said when it comes to Nas music catalog … “Stillmatic (intro)”, “Queens Get The Money”, and this song barley scratch the 2 minute mark, and yet they’re all “vital” tracks that help solidify Nas overall career… I guess what i’m trying to say is don’t press the “skip button” when your listening to a Nas album because you never know when you might run across a “deceptively” great song …

#17. Represent – It seems like every list I write has at least one track that “sticks out” to me as being “criminally underrated”. This is that song for me. From the DJ Premier beat, to the Nas verses, and even hook. Literally every aspect of this song is underrated!.. okay the hook was kinda garbage, but I stand by everything else I said…

#16. I Gave You Power – In this song Nas rap’s from the perspective of being an actual gun. Are you with me so far?… If you know Nas, this is a very “Nas” thing to do. No rapper is more creative with rap topic’s then this man. If you don’t believe me just scroll up and down this list for proof…

 #15. Halftime – “My style switches like a faggot, but I’m not bisexual I’m a intellectual…”. I don’t think even Nas could get away with a “line” like this nowadays… Whomever produced this track must of had “Jingle Bells” in heavy rotation in the studio to concock an instrumental like this one. Illmatic in general sounded very different from the other rap albums of it’s era…

#14. Book of Rhymes – A crazy original track that is intentionally imperfect, and perfect at the same time. The song is “sloppy” by design which intern makes this song a very endearing….

#13. Made you Look – Most rap fans can agree that Nas is the one rapper who never went “pop” our “sold out”. That’s not to say that he didn’t make some “commercial” records in his day. This song is definitely a commercial attempt. By Nas standards this song is very simple. That’s not a bad thing per se, just and observation I made while writing this on the toilet…

#12. Got Ur Self A… – It’s always good sign when you re-listen to a song years later, and you are still able to recite 90% of the lyrics. That was my experience with this track. If the hook was better it would’ve probably of been in my “top 5” for sure…  

#11. Hip Hop is Dead ft. Will.i.am – What rapper in their right mind would use the same exact sample twice? Nas did this when he made “Hip Hop is Dead”. It turned out that the second time was “the charm”, as this would turn out to be one the “biggest” tracks of his entire career. Who’s more hip hop than Nas? The answer… NO ONE!…

#10. It Ain’t Hard to Tell – This song is smooth as hell. Nas wasn’t trying to prove a thing on this jam. A tight flow, lyrics, and beat make this song feel smoother than a baby’s ass…

#9. Life’s A Bitch ft. AZ – This is easily the best “hook” of any Nas song ever! It must suck to have the “biggest” record of your career be on someone else’s album. Look at the bright side, at least AZ got a record deal out of this…

#8. The World is Yours – Every Nas album has at least one uplifting song on the track listing. On Illmatic, this was the track. This song is also notable for “birthing” the “Dead Presidents II”, and “Thief’s Theme” samples. (Jay-Z voice) “Google’s your friend bruh”…

#7. If I Ruled the World (Imagine That) ft. Lauryn Hill – Hip hop’s greatest vocalist of all time + hip hop’s greatest lyricist of all time = hip hop classic…

#6. The Message – Nas has to hold the record for “sampling” your own songs. He did it on this song, but I can think of at least a hand full of other Nas songs where he “samples” himself. It’s the music equivalent of  “inbreeding”. It feels wrong and unnatural! That being said, I love this song…

#5. Hate Me Now ft. Puff Daddy – If its possible for a “hype man” to be in his “prime”, this is that moment for Puff Daddy. Notorious B.I.G had died a few years prior, and this made Puffy really have to raise his “game”. Puff Daddy was a big driving force in making this a “hit” record. Oh, and Nas was pretty good on this song as well…

#4. One Mic – This would have to be the most “atmospheric” hip hop track of all time! Nas brings “the streets” to the listener. From the sounds of police sirens to a “fiend” dropping his beer bottle, this song feels like a living and breathing “entity”. This song is an “experience” first and foremost…

#3. Ether – God… What is something “new” i can say about “Ether”?…. The beat on this song sounds “uninspired”… I wonder if anyone’s ever mentioned that before? …”Ether” was a definite “moment” in hip hop. There’s no denying that…

#2. Nas is Like – I love hip hop “sample loop’s”! These are the “purest” type’s of hip hop beats to me. If a rapper decides to rap on “loop” that usually means you can expect a “A+” effort lyrically. That is defiantly the case here, since I would argue that this is the “most lyrical” song from the “most lyrical” lyricist ever. Hooking up with DJ Premier again was  definitely a “good look”…

#1. N.Y. State of Mind – This is the definitive Nas “showcase”! You could make the argument that Nas’s “first impression” (this song), was the best “impression” of his entire career. This wasn’t so much a rap “song” as it was a rap “résumé” to hip hop fans, and rappers of the time period. Nas let it be known that the “bar had been risen”, and that this was the new “standard” that all MC’s of the Mid 90’s should be measured by. Some might call it beginners luck, but you have to admire how Nas came out firing “on all cylinders” with this one…


Definitive Nas Song List Part 1: https://hiphopwontstop.blog/2017/09/28/the-definitive-nas-song-list-part-1-75-51/

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The Definitive Nas Song List (Part 2) #50-26

#50. Stillmatic (The Intro) – “I crawled up out of that grave, wiping the dirt, cleaning my shirt. They thought I’ll make another “Illmatic”, But it’s always forward I’m moving. Never backwards stupid here’s another classic.”…

#49. The Cross – “Y’all can keep y’all weak beats, from your corny producers. There’s a new king of the streets, you’re gonna get used to. I was the old king of the streets, that y’all once hated, But now I reinvented myself, and y’all all waited. NAS, N.A.S. mean Niggaz Against Society. Noisy I aim not silently, noose all surroundin me. I hang ’em I string ’em up ain’t no thing I just drop ’em.”…

#48. A Queen’s Story – “Niggas is very hungry for that bank robbery. Bury money, trying to get to a Benz from a Hyundai. The Queens Courthouse right next to the cemetery. Niggas’ rap sheets look like obituaries.”…

#47. You’re Da Man – “I hold cannons that shoot balls of flames. Right in they fat mouth then I carve my name. Nas – too real, Nas – true king. It’s however you feel, g’head, you swing. Your arms too short to box with god. I don’t kill soloists only kill squads.”…

#46. Queen’s Get the Money – “Take 27 emcee’s put them in a line and they’re out of alignment. My assignment since he said retirement, hiding behind 8 Mile and The Chronic. Gets rich but dies rhyming. This is hot science. Now add 23 more from Queens to B-more. I’ve over their heads, Like a bulimic on a seesaw.”…

#45. Drunk by Myself – “Heard niggas hate me, but I hated too once. Been in the shoes of a Wolf in the night when he hunts. For every shell niggas bust, we bust at ourselves. Can’t tell them niggas nothing though, bullets wak’em up well.”…


#44. Patience ft. Damian Marley – “Tryin’ to get paper, gotta have land, gotta have acres. So I can sit back like Jack Nicholson, watch niggas play the game like the Lakers. In a world full of fifty-two fakers, Gypsies, seances, mystical prayers. You superstitious, throw salt over your shoulders, make a wish for the day ’cause. Like somebody got a doll of me, stickin’ needles in my arteries, but I can’t feel it.”…

#43. Carry On Tradition – “Now some of these new rappers got their caps flipped backwards. Wit their fingers intertwined in some gang-sign madness. I got an exam, let’s see if y’all pass it. Let’s see who can quote a Daddy Kane line the fastest.”…

#42. The Firm – Executive Decision – “We smoke spliffs when the dro’s lit hoes get hit. Have them blow dick, blow the whole clique. Jeeps, Tahoe, shoes be Salvatore Ferragamo. Catch a homo, guns long like Mutombo, From Atlanta Hawk, rap fans I’mma stalk y’all.”…

#41. U Gotta Love It – “Some girls get too emotional, fanatic extremist. Get pulsive with malice insentitives, the foulest of bitches. Hung up my riches, her childest wishes. Be suspicious of those sleeping with fishes, them hoes. Conspicuous and it shows, tricking this dough. Kicking this flow, slip in a new fo’. So when your click roll, I let my clips go, Niggas on opposite polls.”…

#40. Bye Baby – “Listen, could you imagine writing your deposition? Divorce lawyer telling you how this thing gonna be ending? “With you paying out the ass, and I’m talking half. Not some but half. No serious, half” Half of your soul, half of your heart you leaving behind. It’s either that or die, I wanted peace of mind.”…

#39. Last Real Nigga Alive – “Y’all don’t know about my Biggie wars. Who you thought ‘Kick In The Door’ was for? But that’s my heart, y’all still trippin of this Jigga shit. Real niggas listen up and I’mma tell you how the whole thing start.”…

#38. Stay ft. The Large Professor – “We hate each other, but it’s love, what a thug mystery. Years ago they ate the heart of a slain enemy.We enemies, but your hatred could never enter me. Some seek fame cause they need validation. Some say hatin’ is confused admiration.”…

#37. 2nd Childhood – “Sittin on, different benches like it’s musical chairs. All his peoples moved on in life, he’s on the corners at night, with young dudes it’s them he wanna be like. It’s sad but it’s fun to him right? He never grew up. 31 and can’t give his youth up, he’s in his second childhood.”…

#36. The Firm – Phone Tap – “In the cut, drop-Z okay, the top’s up. Left the mall bought Little Amal the toy truck. Your boy’s what, three years old now, correct? He and my daughter age neck and neck, they futures set.”…

#35. Street Dreams (Remix) ft. R. Kelly – “Give the crew pounds everytime we cover new grounds. Still surviving but there’s a few down, back in the essence. I’m asking questions on the phone, with jail adolescents. Quiet confession, the system’s applying the pressure. My mind is guessing, is living and dying a lesson?”…

#34. Doo Rags – “Political thugs in shark suits persuade us to pull triggers in army boots, yellin “Join the armed forces!”. We lost the Vietnam War, intoxicated poisons. Needles in arms of veterans instead of bigger fortunes.”…

#33. Nasty – “I never see the whips niggas be claimin’ they drivin’. I guess entertainment means blatantly lyin’. Fake it ’til you make it, I’ve driven those toys. Been in the wars, in the streets, cops kickin’ in doors.”…

#32. Purple – “The hood love you but behind your back they pray for the day. A bullet hit your heart and ambulances take you away. That ain’t love it’s hate, think of all the mothers at wakes. Whose sons you killed, and you ain’t got a cut on your face?”…

#31.  I Can – “If the truth is told, the youth can grow. Then learn to survive until they gain control. Nobody says you have to be gangstas, hoes. Read more learn more, change the globe.”…

#30. Thugz Mansion (N.Y.) – “A place where death doesn’t reside, jus’ thugz who collide. Not to start beef but to spark trees, no cops rollin by. No policemen, no homicide, No chalk on the streets. No reason for no body’s momma to cry.”…

#29. Just a Moment ft. Quan – “Yeah, and can we have another moment of silence? For brothers who died from black-on-black violence. From here to the Dark Continent were rebels sell diamonds. To clients all over the world, got little Black girls dyin’.”…

#28. Memory Lane (Sittin’ In Da Park) – “Jungle survivor, fuck who’s the liver. My man put the battery in my back, a difference from Energizer. Sentence begins indented with formality. My duration’s infinite, moneywise or physiology. Poetry, that’s a part of me, retardedly bop. I drop the ancient manifested hip-hop, straight off the block.”…

#27. N.Y. State of Mind, Pt. II – “Broken glass in the hallway, bloodstained floors. Neighbors, look at every bag you bring through your doors. Lock the top lock, momma shoulda cuffed me to the radiator. Why not? It might’ve saved later from my block.”…

#26. Thief’s Theme – “Yo I’m hot like 95 Fahrenheit. On a summer night, tight spot where bodies rot. Rats drink from water drops, in the streets niggaz. Little kids scared cops, wit red dots. Philosophical gangsta, where violent priors. Goin back like black and white TV’s wit pliers. Leanin on broke down cars, wit flat tires. Flash iron, or anybody tryin on the blocks I’m supplyin on.”…


Definitive Nas Song List Part 3: https://hiphopwontstop.blog/2017/09/30/the-definitive-nas-song-list-part-3-25-1/

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The Definitive Tupac Shakur Song List (Part 3) #25-1

#25. Thugz Mansion (Acoustic) ft. Nas & J. Phoenix – Tupac and Nas link up on the “other side”, to make this memorable 2pac record. The premise might sound “corny”, but it goes over amazingly! Definitely a collaboration that needed to happen…

#24. Blasphemy – Tupac’s dad had a lot of “words of wisdom” to impart in his day… Makaveli’s pops tells him “how it is”, at a very early age. These “words of wisdom” clearly had a profound effect on Pac’s adolescences growing up…

#23. Only God Can Judge Me ft. Rappin’ 4-Tay – There were soooo many unnecessary feature’s on the “All Eyez On Me” album, and this track was no exception. That being said, this song is still great…

#22. I Get Around ft. Digital Underground – 2pac reunite’s with his old group. Yeah that’s right, 2pac was a member of a group…Google it… The music video also sets the “blueprint” of what a rap music video is supposed to look like in the 90’s. “Bitches” and pool parties were the thing back then…

#21. How Long Will They Mourn Me? ft. Thug Life, and Nate Dogg – This is one of my favorite Tupac songs! This song is “dedicated” to his “home boy” Kato who was killed sometime during 2pac’s “run”. I’m not going to “front” and act like I know a lot about Kato as a rapper/person because I really don’t. I f#ck with this song “heavy” though…

#20. To Live and Die In L.A – An underrated west coast gem! Seriously, no one mentions this track when talking about “the best” west coast hip hop ever. They should though, it’s a classic…

#19. Brenda’s Got a Baby – A glimpse into “Section 8 America”. This reality isn’t pretty, but 2pac paint’s a very accurate picture of the struggle many Americans go through …

#18. Troublesome ’96 – 2pac is fierce as hell on this track! Pac was definitely on his “Thug life” shit heavy when he wrote this one…

#17. 2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted – The two hottest MC’s at the time link up for this classic west coast anthem. “It ain’t nothing but a gangsta party”…

#16. Pain ft. Stretch – I was completely unaware of this track till i started listening to the Fabolous “Soul Tape” series… The website “whosampled” is a godsend 4 real!…

#15. Str8 Ballin’ – This is probably my favorite 2pac beat ever! J. Cole’s smash hit “Crooked Smile” was originally penned to this beat. Check it out, highly recommend…

#14. So Many Tears – I love the unorthodox instrumental on this song!…

#13. Picture Me Rollin’ – The perfect song to play after finishing your bid in prison…” Picture Me Rollin”…

 #12. Changes – A really great posthumous Tupac track. Very reminiscent of his earlier work…

#11. I Ain’t Mad At Cha – 2pac acts more “passive” aggressive on this song, compared to his normal “aggressive” aggressive, and it turns out to be a nice change of pace…

#10. Against All Odds – 2pac airs out everyone on this joint. Getting dissed by 2pac in the mid 90’s was like a “rite of passage” for rappers. Any publicity is “good publicity”, right?…

#9. Me Against the World – 95′ was Tupac at his best IMO. He wasn’t full blown “Thug Life” yet, and he still had a “softer side” which is still refreshing to listen to...

#8. Dear Mama – Most “Thugz” will shed at least one tear on this joint. If you have “mommy issue’s”, you may want to avoid this track…

#7. All Eyez On Me ft. Syke – The title track on 2pac’s classic double disc album is as good as would expect, and not knowing who Syke the rapper is will not affect your enjoyment of this song in the least bit. Trust me…

#6. If I Die 2Nite – Tupac’s most lyrical track ever! Nothing too flashy here. A simple hook put together with some of Tupac’s “tightest” rhymes ever, make this one an instant classic…

#5. Ambitionz Az a Ridah – Probably my favorite Tupac song ever! The piano melody is menacing as hell. The boxing announcer in the background yelling “let’s get ready to rumble”, will get anyone HYPED! Just ask Mike Tyson…

#4. Hit ‘Em Up ft. Outlawz – The prime catalyst  in the 2pac vs. Biggie beef. It’s a shame it had to come to this… Both artists were at their absolute peaks during all of this, and its awful that we had to lose both of these outstanding MC’s when we did…

#3. California Love ft. Dr. Dre – If you live in or are am from California, this is probably your favorite 2pac song. For everyone else, this track has a straight killer instrumental that can not be missed under any circumstance!…

#2. Keep Ya Head Up – Always remember that “Tupac care’s, if no one else cares”… In all seriousness though, this is the perfect 2pac song. Really uplifting stuff here. It should probably be number one on my list, but it’s not…

#1. Hail Mary ft. Outlawz – A really haunting track considering, this song was released shortly after Pac’s death. It’s one of those tracks that will always be synonyms with 2pac’s legacy, and the perfect song to end this list with…


The Definitive Tupac Shakur Song List Part 1: https://hiphopwontstop.blog/2017/09/21/the-definitive-tupac-shakur-song-list-part-1-75-51/

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