Moment Of Clarity: Nas V. Jay-Z
“Hip Hop has to thank God for Jay-Z.” Amen. That’s the smartest thing Nas has ever said. No I kid. The smartest stuff Nas has ever said can be found on “Ether.” Although Nas’ “Ether” was hot, it was nothing but a cigarette to Jay. He stomped it out with his foot. Oh yeah, I’m bringing the Nas V. Jay-Z debate back, yes. After D’Evils & R.I.P. CD’s it’s time to have some fun. So anyways, Nas might’ve won the battle, but Jay-Z has unarguably won the war. Nas is a great lyricist, but Jay-Z is more versatile, and he can sell records. Men lie, women lie numbers don’t, ah.
Nas is only great when you’re 1 one kind of mood. Jay-Z has music for whatever mood you’re in. Therefore he’s a more complete rapper, thus he’s the better rapper. Nas is incredible. There’s no arguing that, but he’s only great when you’re in the pensive mood. Who’s pensive 24/7? Jay-Z has every kind of track for every playlist in your iPod. If you want some deep lyrics to think to, Reasonable Doubt is in your playlist. Now you want something to workout to? How about “Dirt Off Your Shoulders,” “Big Pimpin’,” or “Niggas In Paris?” Esco can’t touch Jay’s “workout” tracks. The most upbeat Nas can get is “Hip Hop Is Dead,” “Oochie Wally,” and “Hate Me Know.” Nasir looks out of place on upbeat beats. He can’t ride on those. It’s not his style, and there’s nothing necessarily horrible about that either. Nas’ lack of versatility puts him at a disadvantage against Jay-Z. Jigga can make any type of track. That’s why he’s the better rapper.
I love numbers. Judging lyricism, and flow is subjective no matter how neutral someone tries be. But numbers, they don’t lie. When we compare Nas’ sales numbers versus Jay-Z’s sales numbers, Jay leaves QB’s finest in the 1 time platinum neighborhood. Jay-Z’s highest selling album, Vol 2…Hard Knock Life, currently sits atop 5 platinum plaques with over 5 million records sold. Additionally, as a solo artist Jay-Z has 5 platinum albums, three 2 time platinum albums, and two 3 time platinum LP’s. Nas has an impressive resume himself with 4 platinum albums, and three 2 time platinum albums, along with two gold albums, but he’s no match for Jigga man. Jay is a much more marketable artist. He’s the cool guy dressed in all black with the Maybach’s, and the super star wife. Jay-Z is the perfect rags to riches story. Nas is a more normal dude. Usually, normal-ish guys, don’t sell too well. Once again, Nas is at a disadvantage against Jay-Z. Jigga can sell way more records than Nas. Numbers are important. No one would ever consider Magic Johnson one of the greatest point guards of all time if he didn’t have 5 championship rings. Call me crazy, but Steve Nash can outball Magic, except he doesn’t have 5 rings. If Nash had the numbers, who’s Magic? Numbers matter.
Head to head, Nas might’ve beat Jay-Z, but Jay has had a much better career than Nas after the beef. Jay-Z is the better rapper, he’s more versatile, and he has the numbers to back it up. Not to make it rain on Nas’ legacy parade, but he brought back the Nas-Jay-Z debate when he said that, “hip hop should thank God for Jay-Z.” I just had to chime in. Sorry, Jay-Z is better than Nas. But, yo, don’t get it twisted, Nas is one of the 5 greatest MC’s to ever step in the booth, so chill.