The only qualification for this list is that the songs must come from one of Nas’ albums. Besides that, anything goes. Keep in mind, everybody has different opinions and of course there is no official, definitive list out there. Everyone has a different favorite, otherwise things would be pretty boring. Let’s get into it.
60. Undying Love
Here we have a hidden gem of Nas’ …I Am album. It’s Nas at his story-telling best. It feels like a dream, a very deranged, sick dream, but a dream nonetheless. It’s Nas at his paranoid best. We all have those moments, Nas just managed to capture that moment and make a song out of it.
Here’s a recent addition to Nas’ song catalog, off his recent released Life is Good album. This song is actually only on the deluxe addition, yet it still qualifies. The chorus is quite haunting and while the lyrics leave a little to be desired, especially for someone with such high lyrical standards as Nas, it’s still a very memorable song.
Here we have a song off the controversial Untitled album. It’s a very commercial song with an equally commercial beat and hook, yet Nas really brings it with his lyrics. Somehow he manages to make it a perfect fit and makes it come off naturally.
57. Live Now
Nas’ double-disc (and bloated) Street Disciple would have benefited from perhaps being cut down to a single disc. It suffers from the songs being all over the place, yet it still contains a lot of really good to classic songs. Here we only get one Nas verse, therefore the song manages to land somewhere between good and really good.
56. Black Zombies
Not too many have listened to Nas’ Lost Tapes album, yet I’m just glad that it somehow managed to get released. While some of the songs didn’t fit on the albums they were cut from, here, together, they fit perfectly. Here we have a lost gem where Nas gives his people a much needed wake-up call.
55. Destroy & Rebuild
Beef is a tricky thing, and diss songs don’t manage to really connect with you. For that reason, this song is dragged down a bit, yet Nas must handle his business so I suppose it’s necessary. I love the overall theme of the song about destroying to rebuild and even if Nas is a bit distracted, it’s still a good song with a great beat and hook.
Here we have another recently released track. The mixture of jazz and rap has always been a huge Nas staple. Even if this song had no hook or lyrics at all, it’d still probably make the list. The instruments are beautiful, and with the soothing hook, it’s taken to the next level. While I have no idea who or what Nas is talking about in the second verse, it’s certainly intriguing.
53. Rest of My Life
Here we have another somber song from Street’s Disciple. Nas talks about pretty much giving up on rap in 95 after the commercial failure of Illmatic among other things. The last verse is pretty heartbreaking as Nas talks about growing up in the hood and trying to protect your mother (not necessarily his) from the cold world.
52. 2nd Childhood
The beat and hook is on point. Listening to the track, you instantly think how you don’t really hear songs like this anymore. Then we get more story-telling from God’s Son. It’s very much one of the standouts from Nas’ instant classic: STILLmatic.
51. A Message to the Feds…
This song suffers somewhat from the simple beat and long, weird title. It doesn’t really have a chorus either, but Nas brings it with his lyrics and rhyming delivery so the song manages to overcome the almost deficiencies (and very short run-time) and turns it into something special.
(Stay tuned for #50-41….coming soon!)