After years of a career in the hip hop industry, Nas’ longevity and his intact lyrical prowess make a cosign from the rapper extremely meaningful. Unfortunately, none of the emcees of the current generation have impressed him long enough to get a public endorsement.
During an interview with Financial Times, the New Yorker discussed everything from his storied career, his ventures in other industries and the current state of hip hop. When on the last topic, he noted Pop Smoke’s potential.
“We were happy to see that young king come up,” he said of the Brooklyn rapper. “He was a breath of fresh air. The drill movement in London, Chicago and New York is really exciting,” he continued, admitting he hasn’t heard an unforgettable rap song since the late star’s untimely demise.
“I appreciate what’s out there, but there’s no one keeping me up at night,” Nas explained. “I hear a new rap record and think it’s great, but I don’t listen to it the next week.”
Though the “27 Summers” lyricist has yet to find his favorite emcee or rap song, it’s safe to say he’s found a producer that he not only admires, but also gels with. His Grammy-nominated project King’s Disease — which features the likes of Charlie Wilson, Big Sean and Foxy Brown — was produced by Hit-Boy, who he reunited with to record “E.P.M.D” from the Judas and the Black Messiah soundtrack.
Last year, Nas told DJ Ralph McDaniels that it was “fun” working with Hit-Boy. The producer later returned the love during a press run prepping for the release of King’s Disease. “We got a natural connection when it comes to making music,” Hit-Boy told Hip Hop DX of his chemistry with the Nastradamus star. “...He’s real. He paid attention to detail, detailing the beat, detailing the lyrics, detailing the pocket, the flows. Real veteran level focus.”