Nas is not losing sleep over today’s rappers.
In an interview with the Financial Times, the hip-hop icon was asked about the current state of hip-hop and who he’s listening to these days. While he does stay on top of the latest music, no one in particular is piquing his longterm interest.
“I appreciate what’s out there, but there’s no one keeping me up at night,” said Nas. “I hear a new rap record and think it’s great, but I don’t listen to it the next week.”
The last rapper to impress him was Pop Smoke. “We were happy to see that young king come up,” he said of the late Brooklyn rapper. “He was a breath of fresh air. The drill movement in London, Chicago and New York is really exciting.”
He also had some advice for today’s artists trying to navigate the industry. “The business is hard and not many artists make it. But as long as you keep your soul, so long as you are happy knowing you contributed something positive to the atmosphere, then you can’t lose,” said Nas. “No one gets out unscathed, you know. There’s going to be some turbulence, but you’re here to make music, change lives and help people.”
At 47, Nas remains one of hip-hop’s most respected voices. His latest album King’s Disease is nominated for Best Rap Album at this year’s Grammys, which will be held on March 14. He can also be heard on “EPMD” off the soundtrack to Judas and the Black Messiah.