Nas or Jay-Z – Who’s Your Favorite MC?

Nas, Jay-Z at ‘Life is Good’ event in NYC (Nigel D./RealTalkNY)

In celebration of Nas’ new album Life is Good, I have decided to declare my unabashed fan-dom for the Queens MC. While I love Jay-Z’s music, respect his work ethic and am enthralled by his star power, I really do believe that hip-hop fans have to identify themselves as a Jay-Z fan or a Nas fan. I genuinely believe that you can’t not whole-heartedly be both. And if I had to choose between Jay and Nas, I’d vote for Mr. Nasir Jones all the way because of his relentless creative freedom. While this freedom might not always work in his best interest – remember 75% of Street’s Disciple? – I respect his bravery to execute what he’s feeling, regardless of whether I’m left saying ‘Who let him pick his own beats?!?!’ Adding fuel to the fire, I read a bit of Keith Murphy’s VIBE interview with Nas and became even more of a fan, if that’s even possible:

From the album cover, which highlights Kelis’ wedding dress, to some of the personal details you reveal about your own divorce, were you initially apprehensive about sharing personal details of your relationship?
It just came naturally. It really bothered me because we are in the Internet age. There was no way to avoid everything that was out there. To me that’s what shaped this album. I couldn’t escape all the stuff about my marriage or questions about [my finances]. So my answer was putting Kelis’ green wedding dress on the album cover. The music and the reality of my life go hand-in-hand. Life is poetry and that’s what this new album is. I haven’t had a record out in a long time. This is the way I got it all off of my chest. … 

One of the songs on Life Is Good that showcases your fruitful collaborative relationship with No I.D. is the single “Daughters,” which talks about your at times rocky relationship with your teenage daughter Destiny. Can you describe the first time she heard the song?
She was there when I was recording it. We were in a big studio so Destiny was doing other things, but she walked into the room where I was recording it and heard a few words and said, ‘What’s going on?’ The whole room just started laughing and she kind of smiled and walked backwards out of the room. She didn’t know what it was about and she didn’t want to listen to it, but later on she heard the song.

And what was the verdict?
I think she understands where I was coming from. She can hear me saying that I wasn’t always around and I wasn’t always the best dad, but I care. And there are a lot of fathers like me. To me, ‘Daughters’ lets all those fathers out there know, ‘Hey, don’t end up like me in terms of not being there all the time.’ You should really pay attention to the most precious thing in the world. Destiny and I hang out all the time. She never beefs with me about it.

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