In a recently published story titled "A case for Nas, hip-hop's finest MC", CNN builds the case that Nas' lyricism is unmatched in hip hop.
From the article:
"With "Life is Good," Nas dropped his ninth No. 1 hip-hop album since 1994. Seven of those have gone platinum, which places him second among rappers only to Jay-Z with 11. (We're not counting compilations or collaborations here, only original solo efforts, and yes, Tupac Shakur had nine, but five were posthumous releases.)
It also ties Nas with Snoop Dogg or Snoop Lion or whatever his name is, and it puts the Queens native one plaque ahead of Eminem, Too Short, OutKast and LL Cool J, all of whom belong in the greatest-ever discussion, as well."
Despite the high praise, the Queensbridge icon acknowledges the accomplishments of Tupac and Biggie Smalls as being instrumental in getting him to where he is today.
"I just think Biggie was something else. He was the Hitchcock of this thing, man," Nas told CNN. "He told you a story. There was a seriousness that came with it that can't compare with nothing. "I'd probably be better if they were still around. I think I'd be a lot better," he added.
As for Jay-Z, according to CNN writer Eliott C. McLaughlin, Hova is talented but only comes out on top of Nas concerning the business side of hip hop.
"Here is where that "lyricist" v. "hip-hop artist" distinction becomes important.
Jay-Z said it best himself: He's not a businessman; he's a business, man. When you consider 11 of his albums have sold at least a million copies -- seven of those 2 million or more -- as have his four collaborations, two with R. Kelly and one each with Linkin Park and Kanye West, it's as if Hova is King Midas, but with platinum.
He's a hit maker extraordinaire, maybe the world's best, but that doesn't translate to best lyricist. Jay-Z acknowledged as much on "Moment of Clarity" when he rhymed, "If skills sold, truth be told/I'd probably be, lyrically, Talib Kweli."
Even in dissing Nas on "Takeover," he explained why he had sampled Nas' lyrics on "Dead Presidents": "So yeah, I sampled your voice; you was using it wrong/you made it a hot line; I made it a hot song."
Do you agree that Nas is the greatest ever to put pen to paper?