Nas: Open Book

Nas’ life is hardly an open book, but slowly, but surely the pages are starting to turn. The Queensbridge rapper has had a seismic shift in his life, priorities and has begun to let the public into his life. It started with his groundbreaking album Street’s Disciple. It offered songs with his father, odes to […]

Nas’ life is hardly an open book, but slowly, but surely the pages are starting to turn. The Queensbridge rapper has had a seismic shift in his life, priorities and has begun to let the public into his life. It started with his groundbreaking album Street’s Disciple. It offered songs with his father, odes to his lovely wife Kelis and a bevy of personal sagas.

After allowing ABC to chronicle his wedding, Nas intends to publicly explore his life and times at greater length. But, the more things change, the more they don’t and Nasir Jones had something to say about marriage, books and movies, but also 50 Cent, Murder Inc., The Game, Scarface and plenty more. I know you are a little tight-lipped about this, but can you talk about the movie on your life?

Nas: The thing I’m writing is about my life. That’s basically it. Now, is it really going to be your life, because a lot of artists like 50 and Eminem have biopics, but the stories are altered in Hollywood.

Nas: Yeah, you can’t give them everything. But, it’s going to be a lot in there. Who knows if somebody wants to go to a movie theater and watch your life – everything that really happened. That’s not necessarily movie material. Its documentary material, but movie material is to be smart about it to give it that movie magic. For about four or five years, I’ve heard about you writing short stories, but now you are moving into the novel realm. What can we expect?

Nas: It’ll be street tales from me. It’ll be based on my life too, my experiences and what I’ve seen. . No disrespect, but a lot of the street urban books that are available now are really simple to read. Your lyrical style really isn’t like that.

Nas: I think if you’ve listened to my music before then you would have a certain type of interest for the book, for each page to see what’s on the next page. It’s not poetry, but it goes hand-in-hand. You had your wedding on TV, being such a private person, what made you do that?

Nas: I agreed to it, because this is what my wife [Kelis] wanted. And they also agreed to give us a copy of the entire wedding edited up really nicely. We didn’t have to do it ourselves. They had us with professional cameras up there so we can have that whole marriage together forever. And, an important thing that she brought to my attention was that Black men should see this. A lot of rappers are married on the low or whatever. It’s not really “cool” to be married as a rapper.

Nas: I didn’t know how to hide it. It wasn’t my intention to make it hugely public or keep it real quiet. It was just “It is.” It wound up being in my music and it’s never been done. I said, “Hey, that’s cool.” I like doing things that brother’s have never done. So, it gives me a balance, because where at one point I am very low [profile], another point is I need these things to keep my face out there. At the same time, it’s going on with the album. When you see me and my girl, it’s not a show for us, but as a man, I’m talking grown man things. I think it’s just for this album, but it was what was happening in my life – I was planning a wedding – so this is what was happening in my music. Rap is youth-oriented, but some of the biggest names in rap are 30 and up. Its not necessarily reflected in the music.

Nas: My whole career, I’ve been able to talk about crazy s**t. But this year, I’ve been engulfed in wedding planning, engulfed in life changing things, outside of the wedding. All kinds of things. It gets into the music, because I don’t hear it in nobody else’s music besides Scarface. I don’t hear it with nobody else. What’s up with Ill Will Records and what made you sign Quan, your new artist?

Nas: Quan is somebody that my boy introduced me to as somebody who raps and sings. So that’s what made me want to get with him. And he produces as wel,l so he’s a multi-talent. It’s not like somebody just rhyming. A lot of dudes just rhyme and that’s cool, bit I wanted to try something different. Does Hip-Hop bore you these days?

Nas: It can, if you let it. You can’t let it. And you have to look into it and know that there is something good in there. And know that these artists are good and they are developing in front of our eyes. So, it’s not good to put nobody down. I like almost all the artists out there. It bores you because there are no more albums and that’s why I made a double album, because Street’s Disciple is like Life After Death, Me Against World or [Wu Tang’s] The W and Scarface’s My Homies. There are no albums anymore. With the label, do you have other artists?

Nas: Yeah, I have other artists that we’re developing now. I want to make this a year where I do take time and have faith in these new artists and let them do their thing. Are The Bravehearts still doing their thing? I know things got shaky with the album.

Nas: They’re definitely working again. They went through a learning experience. They are working at it again. They played some stuff for me and it’s hard. With all this maturity going on, what’s the deal with you and 50 Cent? You said some stuff about him last summer and he’s allegedly got some stuff to say about you and Kelis on the unheard “Piggybank” song.

Nas: 50 Cent comes underneath me. We have history so he was going through some things, and he felt I was against him and I felt he was against me so words were exchanged. But, nah…I’m all good. He’s fairly a new artist. My goals are different from his goals. We’re two different kind of guys. And I think we hold it down. We both hold it down. I mean any MC…I’m not into calling names no more. I’m past that. But, if I go in, I go in. If somebody wants to call me out, you know what I bring to the table. You know my record. [Pauses] You know my record. So, I’ma go in on whoever it is. Whoa, you might have some “Ether” for 50? [Laughs]

Nas: [Laughs] Man, it’s just what we do. It’s the nature of the business. It’s good for the music. This is a little old, but there were some rumblings that you and Jay-Z kind of considered a joint project. True or false?

Nas: I don’t really know about that. So, that was just talk?

Nas: I think [the fans] be too into the game. You think fans take it too far? On the net stuff spreads like crazy…

Nas: You know what I think…when they stop [talking], we gotta worry. I think the fans should talk. I’m a fan. Sometimes, I get crazy. When we stop liking this s**t, it’s over. Are you ever on the Internet. I see you have Blackberry pager.

Nas: Nah, I’m not. Every once in a blue moon. 50 Cent’s homey Game had a lot of respect for you. What are your thoughts on him?

Nas: I think Game is one of the best new guys to come out, because a lot of the new guys that come out, they sound like somebody and they don’t tell you why. Game is dope, because he’s telling you why he’s a student of the game. The ones who make it are students. You have to be a student to be a teacher. He’s a pupil and he tells you that. That’s why he name is The Game and I think that is a great look for Hip-Hop. You had a close affiliation with Murder Inc. at one point. Do you have any thoughts on the federal case against them?

Nas: Yeah, I have been in touch with Irv [Gotti] and my heart goes out to them. My prayers are with them as well. It’s a shame that the ignorance that people have for “us” people. It’s so crazy. They don’t understand us. They just see us as all criminals. They don’t understand that when people do legit things, we may still know people from the streets. There’s not one rapper that don’t know people from the streets. There’s not one big Jewish Hollywood producer that don’t know gangsters in the street. There’s not one person that had a fortune that don’t know tough guys. It’s a shame, but people are taking advantage of the name Murder Inc. They are under a lot of surveillance for that, but I hope it turns out for the best. Are the streets getting too involved in the business side of rap? There are straight gangsters in Hip-Hop and they are bringing something else to the culture.

Nas: The gangsters in Hip-Hop have got to figure out a way to keep the dead bodies away from the studio lobby, the dead bodies from the radio station, the dead bodies in the record company. We can’t do it like that, because you sh***in’ where you eatin’. There are guys in Hollywood and other parts of the game…and they don’t s**t where they eat. When they do, the media and the police cover it up. They turned John Gotti into a celebrity, but Irv Gotti is a monster and an animal. And that’s on purpose. The street gangsters are gonna have to realize that [they have to] keep it away from the radio stations, keep it away from the TV…