Artist of the Week: Five things you should know about rapper Nas

Posted on August 14, 2012 by

It’s been four years since New York rapper Nas released a solo album, so his new record Life Is Good serves as a re-introduction to his fans. In a phone interview with ANDPOP’s Azra Kassam, Nas talked about collaborating with Amy Winehouse and his best prank ever (it involves a blow up doll). 

Life is Good was his daily mantra before becoming his album title: These last few years have been difficult for Nas, particularly because of a high profile divorce from singer Kelis. But he rose above it all and bared his soul for his eleventh studio album Life Is Good. “Instead of looking at all the losses, I started looking at them as blessings,” he said. “I started saying ‘Life is Good’ and it became a daily mantra… It was the obvious thing to do when it was time to title my album.”

So there you have it kids, the next time you’re feeling blue, try creating a positive, daily mantra for yourself. You can thank Nas later.

He and Amy Winehouse share the same birthday: Nas recently released “Cherry Wine,” a collaboration with Amy Winehouse, which appears on Life is Good. He said it was amazing to collaborate with Winehouse before her tragic death. “She was an incredible artist, she was a pure artist, and she was someone who loved music more than most people I meet,” he said. “She had a spirit that was about being honest and being raw and not caring about what anybody thinks.” In fact, Nas said when he was putting “Cherry Wine” together, he felt Winehouse’s presence as an angel.

Coincidentally, both Nas and Winehouse shared the same birthday, Sept. 14, though he was born ten years earlier.

Listen to it here:

His best prank involved a blow up doll: While Nas admitted he doesn’t watch a lot of TV and has NO IDEA who Carly Rae Jepsen even is, he is pretty adept at pulling pranks while on the road. One of his best pranks involved getting his road manager to buy a blow up doll (as if he would be caught dead buying one himself) and hiding it underneath the covers in his DJ’s hotel room bed. Pretty clever!

He enjoys listening to jazz music in his downtime: Nas’ father was a jazz/blues musician who introduced him to music. “Growing up with him as a musician, he played a lot of jazz music for work.  I always thought jazz was a sophisticated, older person’s music and as I got older I started to understand it more,” he explained. “It represents a certain lifestyle, a mind state and I like it.”

He has some encouraging words for young, aspiring rappers: “Listen to a lot of different artists and find your sound,” he said. “Work on developing your style and crafting your style.” At the last second he added, “And write a lot! You need to write a lot.”

Nas’ album Life Is Good came out July 17, 2012. 

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