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Moment Of Clarity: Nas V. Jay-Z

April 9, 2012 · Posted in editorial · 61 Comments 

“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.

Written by @QuezKHH, like me on facebook.

Comments

61 Responses to “Moment Of Clarity: Nas V. Jay-Z”

  1. Mattyice on April 9th, 2012 3:11 am

    Word upppp but Steve Nash and magic Johnson comparison is terrible

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  2. Drew on April 9th, 2012 3:15 am

    Jay sells more so hes better? fuck that true fans recgonize talent not numbers n nasty got jay on that, 90 percent of rap fans today just like whoevers got better marketing scemes cause teens dont think when they listen, they hear a good beat n the simplier the lyrics the better, thats why clowns like tyler tthe creator n lil b are around, and why clowns like lil wayne and every other meaningless metaphor spitter in ymcmb are put in arguemeants about the “greastest” emcee

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    Mr. A Reply:

    @Drew, WORD!

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    Listen To Charlie Reply:

    @Drew,

    WORD!

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    Zak Reply:

    @Drew,

    Im assuming you read the whole thing. He was saying Jay sells more because he can make more different types of records well. That’s why he’s the better rapper. He’s not just saying Jay is a better rapper because he moves more copies, he’s saying he’s the better rapper because of how he does it.
    Otherwise we would be sitting here comparing Beiber and Nas (cause remember he raps now).

    [Reply]

    Mattyice Reply:

    @Zak, Thank you

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    @MisterrPenguin Reply:

    @Mattyice, word up Just listen to Nas – Last Real Nigga Alive it will shut this whole blog up lol that track is too Real Nas talks about jay-z in that listen to all 3 verses on there

    Drew Reply:

    @Zak, True Jay markets betta then any otha rapper, but Nas is respected more by rappers it seems, One sells one spits, bottom line the better of the two depends on who ur askin cause we all are gonna have different stands,I see where you comin from though, but everybody agrees fuck justin beiber

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  3. Dfinity on April 9th, 2012 3:16 am

    they’re both incredible, just because they had beef a few years back doesnt mean it’s okay to compare their entire careers. they’ve both worked hard to get where they’re at, and they certainly aren’t worried about who’s ahead of who….. so why are we?

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  4. MosDef on April 9th, 2012 3:24 am

    Jay z can sell all the records he wants but the battle NaS won and that’s what matters. They went head to head MC wise n NaS came out on top not selling charts. Gotta say tho its hard to compare both. Both came out with amazing debuts

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  5. Wes on April 9th, 2012 3:25 am

    Nas is the 1000 times better than Jay..Fuck outta here..fuck your numbers. you wanna talk numbers? then Wilt Chamberlain was/is the greatest basketball player ever..Nas > Jay Z.

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    Mattyice Reply:

    @Wes, Ummm no were talking about numbers Kareem is and don’t say that much better cuz that’s not true I believe there even

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    Wes Reply:

    @Mattyice, 30pts 23 rebs and 4.4 assst for Wilt.. 25pts 11rebs in their careers..you be the judge.. back to the point.. Even in other faces maybe..lyrically Nas is just way better

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    Mattyice Reply:

    @Wes, I believe it is arguable but to say nas is way better just sounds obsurd almost as you don’t listen to music

  6. Immortal on April 9th, 2012 3:31 am

    Nas >>>>> jay-z anyday, still respect both though

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  7. The Calm on April 9th, 2012 3:36 am

    I hate the “numbers dont lie” argument. If that were true the Carter 4 would be one of the best albums of the last 10 years, but we all know that album was terrible.

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    Wes Reply:

    @The Calm, Thank you.

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    ross Reply:

    @The Calm, word! khh “ur killin’ me” with ur bs lately..

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    Listen To Charlie Reply:

    @The Calm,

    WORD!

    [Reply]

  8. Zuno on April 9th, 2012 3:49 am

    That Nash and magic comparison is horrible. Stop please

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  9. dnice1593 on April 9th, 2012 4:12 am

    You were right about most of this, but that steve nash being a better baller that Magic was ridiculously stupid. Magic was 6 ‘ 9 and could dribble and distribute the ball better than most 6’2 guards. That is like comparing Nas to Canibus lyrically. Both dope artist, but one is undisputably better.

    All I gotta say

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  10. RS on April 9th, 2012 4:18 am

    You need a lesson in essay writing. Literally repeated the same thing start to finish, it could have been a three sentence article. Nevermind.

    Now compare your ‘Jay Z’ to Eminem.

    Numbers don’t lie Quez.

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    Areeb Shahjahan Reply:

    @RS, Yes, I’m waiting on this Jay and Eminem comparison ;) haha. Numbers don’t lie indeed.

    Also, Nas is a better overall rapper than Jay lyrically and consistenly. Jay is just more successful commercially. Respect to both.

    Now gimme that Eminem article ;)

    [Reply]

    Listen To Charlie Reply:

    @RS,

    WORD!

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    Mattyice Reply:

    @Listen To Charlie, Not true at all you can argue lyrically but consistent not a chance

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  11. BBCEO on April 9th, 2012 4:26 am

    plus Nas has been working for Jay when he became def jam chairman ;)

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  12. Bhill LGC on April 9th, 2012 4:30 am

    “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.” preach

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  13. Mr. A on April 9th, 2012 5:10 am

    With all due respect this is more your opinion than anything else. You say nas is like when you’re in a one in a kind mood but I feel the same way about Jay-Z.
    It seems to me that you’re judging nas by the few songs you’ve heard from him.

    Personally I don’t care too much about numbers, as Big L and Big Pun didn’t sell too many records but they’re considered rap gods.

    Also you seem to be repeating yourself too much. Sure numbers don’t lie and Jay is versatile but look at the different audiences they appeal to.
    A while back I was reading an article about how Nas’s recent single ‘The Don’ didn’t have a good beat even though his lyrics were amazing. Personally I thought the beat was amazing.
    Like I stated before, it all comes back to opinion. Which is why Jay-Z has more upbeat songs. Nas still raps for the people in the streets.

    Jay-z’s songs are for people to bump to in the club, while nas’s songs are for people to reflect on themselves making their way back from the club (line taken from another rap lol)

    But seriously, if Nas stepped out of his comfort zone and rapped to beats like Dirt Off your Shoulders he would easily kill them.

    and all of this isn’t concerning the beef, even though you loved draggin that into there. Both of their music appeals to different audiences, I’m sure if Jay-Z still rapped like he did on Reasonable Doubt this argument would have some form of validity but it doesn’t.

    Nas once said “put a famous bitch on the hook, there you go with a platinum CD.” Which – when you look at it – is what Jay-Z’s doing. His recent songs (before WTT) were all long hooks and short raps.
    His raps had no value in Watch The Throne, which were all about the beats.

    I’m not criticizing Hov for what he’s done, but I’m just mentioning all that you left out about him.

    Nas’s songs can go from upbeat (NY State of Mind) to deep (Heaven, Hip Hop Is Dead) to funny (Fried Chicken) to just pure MCing talent (Ether).

    What if my base argument was who makes a better story while rapping. Nas would clearly win, Rewind, Doo Rags, One Love and Breathe are better than any story Jay-Z’s rapped about on his tracks.

    This is just one of those questions which will never be truly answered. It’s like Biggie or Tupac but on a smaller scale.

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    Curt Reply:

    @Mr. A, “But seriously, if Nas stepped out of his comfort zone and rapped to beats like Dirt Off your Shoulders he would easily kill them.” Man I really don’t think Nas would have outdone those type of beats. Nas’s style kind of depended on the beat staying out of the way of his lyrics. Example: Hero

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    Killa Reply:

    @Mr. A, “His raps had no value in Watch The Throne, which were all about the beats.” wtf… “Do you fools listen to music or do you just skim through it?” -HOV

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    Mr. A Reply:

    @Killa, Compare Reasonable Doubt to Watch The Throne. Rapping about audemars and hublots he can suck a fucking dick all you Jay-z fans are fucking stupid and don’t listen to the fucking logic.

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    Mattyice Reply:

    @Mr. A, Nice paragraphs but don’t agree with at all the don lyrics were just ok

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  14. ichyowie on April 9th, 2012 5:24 am

    i dont get how nas is out of place on uptempo beats…that joint nasty and his song nah mean with damian marley were uptempo and went hard

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  15. The Royal One on April 9th, 2012 5:48 am

    Your a horrible writer. A writer in a piece discussing who is better isn’t suppose to put their personal opinion in it, that’s the job of the audience that your speaking to. That’s the basic rule in journalism and I learned that rule back in journalism class in high school.

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  16. Jetemy on April 9th, 2012 5:52 am

    Okay your opionated posts are getting annoying, bottoms up is a great album. And now this…?? Get back to lyrics and skip this crap! I can go to hnhh for troll bullshit

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  17. Curt on April 9th, 2012 6:15 am

    Jay has over 10 #1 albums. This hasn’t been a debate since the black album in my opinion haha

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    Mattyice Reply:

    @Curt, Thank youuuuuu

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  18. ElMonarca029 on April 9th, 2012 6:34 am

    Ur crazy man, just because Jay sells more and got more money he’s better thatn Nas? Ur fool bro!

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  19. Harey on April 9th, 2012 6:37 am

    U all know who z better when u r trying hard to make’em look bad. Hov z a god mc and y’all know it and like he says in most kings ‘if u succide prepare to be crucified’ ur fav rapper Nas just called him rap messiah n i bet that kills U…. Let t go alrdy jay be the best period. N nas won that ether takeover coz he was comical in his lyrics.t was more like a roast than a rap song. jay z however kept it real *no lie on my verses* he says plus jay z apologized for what he did and said abt Nas’ wife on super ugly xo pepo thot he went soft! Nas calls jay camel face and he fucks his wife pliz and u still tell urself nas won?

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  20. Grande Thoughts on April 9th, 2012 7:05 am

    Nas cannot be one of the greatest rappers only because he only had 1 legendary album and 1 pretty good album. Illmatic will always be remembered and Stillmatic was a solid backup album. Jay-Z has had multiple legendary albums. If Nas was as talented as people give him then he would have produce more high quality albums.

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  21. Jaydy on April 9th, 2012 7:15 am

    U judge lik a lawyer only bringx out d strengths o ur Jay n d weaknesses o Nas n W tis ur “numbas dnt lie” thing,it will also mean jay is beta than 2pac n Biggie of wh we all knw is dope. BSides Nas definitely murdA Jay w” Ether” w fActS u spat on d beats. Nevatheless, jay is a beta commercial than Nas n dat bought him his respect but talkin abt talent in hiphop goddamn it, let’s giv it 2 NAS d God n plz dnt 4get to Compare EM’ n Jay in ur next stupid essay;

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    Grande Thoughts Reply:

    @Jaydy, Nas won the battle but Jay z won the war

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  22. MajorCity on April 9th, 2012 7:52 am

    NUMBERS DON’T LIE PEOPLE!!! That’s why Tha Carter 4, Take Care and Roman’s Revenge are all classic examples of REAL RAP. *sarcasm*…

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  23. Listen To Charlie on April 9th, 2012 8:22 am

    Numbers.. numbers.. numbers.. numbers.. numbers..
    SHITtY ARTICLE!

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  24. N@y'No on April 9th, 2012 9:12 am

    Isn’t It Clear?,I Rock Bitches You Rock Fellas…
    Come On KHH Teens Only Listen…They Don’t Wanna Hear ‘em Facts That God MC’s Like Nas Spit…….
    Thats Why You On That ”Numbers Don’t Lie” *ish
    Lil Waynes Last Two Carter Albums Sold Mo’ Than The Blueprint III & American Gangster,But Does That Make Lil Wayne Better Than Jay-Z????

    #Nas Won’t Dumb It Down

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  25. Doom on April 9th, 2012 9:40 am

    “Although Nas’ “Ether” was hot, it was nothing but a cigarett to Jay.”

    “A cigarett”?!
    Uh-huh… So that’s why Jay-Z cried on Hot97, and apologized from NaS as well.
    When it comes to overrating a rapper, Jay-Z always win that, and that article proves it. Worst one I’ve ever read on this site.

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  26. @laerion88 on April 9th, 2012 9:49 am

    Did u know d rule of journlism at all,,,u are a retard for this writeup,,,dis is notin but craps.ur blinded

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  27. Sampz on April 9th, 2012 10:37 am

    I think it comes down to this if both of them today said they were releasing a new album in the future. Who would u be more excited about? Nasty nas easily (I no he releasing one this year). Somewere along the line jay z turnt into a business man that is the differance between him and nas. Nothing wrong with that fairplay to him his success speaks for itself. As a muscian I’m sorry you can’t fuck with nas man. He still has the ability to bring that music that makes u sit down and shut the fuck up. Jay z lost that ages ago. Overall eminem is better rapper than both and has sold more than both. There’s no arguing that eminem is the best rapper alive. In my opinion I’d say he is better than biggie not tupac tho!!

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  28. Raz on April 9th, 2012 12:37 pm

    We are tallking two different kinds of people in this day and age. Jay-z is a commercial entertainer with his hands in all sorts of bullshit. Nas is a rapper and has kept it like that from the beginning. There was no war with Nas and Jay-z just beef where ‘Ether’ IMO came out on top.. but to expect an already popular rapper marrying one of the biggest female RnB stars of all time, not to do well is asking a hell of a lot. Nas has always been one to tone it down, and not get excited over big party hype tracks, he’s a street thug, and he’s the ILLest rapper alive. #illmatictillidie

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  29. no on April 9th, 2012 12:52 pm

    Commercially Jay-Z obviously wins. Lyrically & intellectually Nas wins ;)
    Indeed Nas always has the same kind of beats, commercially-wise not the best choice. But Nas can’t switch his styles up?
    2 words for you –> Distant Relatives–> 1 of my favourite albums ever & best live-performance I’ve ever seen. ( twice! very thankful :p)

    Jay-z is a boss but Nasir has some kind of personality/depth that Jay-Z will never reach. And if you compare Eminem with Jay-Z he beats overall sales with only 6 albums.

    I’d rather not make the comparison, they’re both great in their own way. Nas=lyricist Jay-z= businessman & indeed very versatile

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  30. riphop on April 9th, 2012 1:22 pm

    Nas over Jay anyday. Gay-z is a commercial sellout whereas Nas has got that lyrical ability.

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  31. Mark on April 9th, 2012 1:23 pm

    Since when do the numbers represent your level of skill?

    Is Bill Gates a better human being because he has more numbers after his name?
    It’s a shitty argument and you know it

    Besides that we all know that Joe Budden is the goat! muahahaha

    [Reply]

    Mattyice Reply:

    @Mark, I don’t get it nas said it himself why are you guys arguing

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    memo Reply:

    @Mattyice,

    If u think thats “all he meant” by that then ur a kid . there’s allot to read between the lines in “Hip Hop has to thank God for Jay-Z”

    [Reply]

  32. Amin on April 9th, 2012 3:19 pm

    Jay is businessman who cares about numbers mostly(Just like any businessman), and this is why the numbers argument comes up every time this debate comes up. and Jay will get nas anytime anywhere with that.

    Now lyrically, Here I have to quote this ” Do you listen to music, or do you just skim through it” – Jay. Now I understand that Nas did and STILL comes with verses that impress us and leave us speechless. BUT! wtf are you guys on about, did u forget the black album? Reasonable doubt ?! In my opinion like quez said, Jay has different styles, and he has proved that he can be one of the best rappers alive or dead “lyrically” and he also can make club bangers too. Jay -z is any DJ,Hustler,businessman, a real rap fan and even an athlete favorite rapper.If a rapper can satisfy all these people i stated above,then he must be really good.

    and don’t get it twisted cuz I know you guys love to get it twisted, Nas is one of my favorite rappers too!

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  33. Chi Simpson!!! on April 9th, 2012 5:20 pm

    HAHAHA…You said “Nas is a great lyricist, but Jay-Z is more versatile, and he can sell records. Men lie, women lie numbers don’t, ah…” HMMMM? Lil Wayne is versatile and is the only artist still selling millions in the first week? Can we please get an article on this man and give him some credit!!!! Like you said “Men lie, Women lie, Numbers dont right?”

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  34. Eddie on April 9th, 2012 11:07 pm

    Nas MIGHT be more lyrical but please dnt say WAY MORE lyrical. But to me IMO Nas=Jay.

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  35. Zaree7214 on April 10th, 2012 11:47 am

    Horrible article. Opiniated and the number talk is bullshit. KHH going down so you should just stick to writing lyrics instead of giving us shitty articles.

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  36. mike on April 10th, 2012 5:15 pm

    & I hope ya’ll heard the camron song talkin about how hov has been bitin lyrics since 98

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  37. happy on September 1st, 2012 2:50 pm

    Nas all day! He is the G.O.A.T period! End of discussion.

    -King of New York

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  38. gift sumasumo on July 12th, 2013 1:27 am

    l hv listened to Nas since l was 11, and l should say he is the only true connection to the origin. can’t explain it but the feeling l get from his craft l don’t know anyone else who can overide it j-z or whoever. my fvrate track “U DA MAN”

    [Reply]

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