I’ll Be A Nas Fan Forever

Yesterday, I went to the United Center in Chicago to see my favorite rapper ever in life, Nas.

It was a moment in time that I’m glad I didn’t pass up. It resonated differently than the other times I’ve watched him perform. Unlike the previous 3 times I seen Nas, this performance was more inspiration. To see him as a fan is a given, but this time being in the moment of his performance I really felt some of his lyrics were really talking directly to me.

There was a spot in the show, I believe during “One Mic” where he shouted out and encouraged the writers and poets in the audience to keep writing and let their voice be heard. That felt like confirmation to me. That felt like, he knew I was there and that was meant to help me make a decision about my next move.

As he’s running through several classic records and I’m in my section letting go and reciting the lyrics, I’m getting reminders. Reminders of who I want to be, what I can be and why I can’t stop just because things aren’t ideal. It’s important to be who I’m supposed to be no matter what the response is. It’s important that I get out all these thoughts, ideas, scripts, writings and art no matter what. Because somebody may need to read and digest it as much as I needed to get it out.

It’s a great feeling to be inspired by art. It’s a greater feeling to know that your art will inspire. I no longer care where other people put Nas in regards to their top Emcee, rapper lists. I don’t care how many classics they feel he does or does not have. I just know that he’s my favorite rapper ever and he’ll always occupy the top spot for me. Because I find myself living by the words he’s said and I’m encouraged by his words in my low times and dark moments. That kind of greatness can’t be disrespected by placement on a list.

My phone is old so I didn’t take one great picture or video of last night. However, my mind is filled with the greatness that I experienced and I am truly in a better spirit for getting that moment in time to watch him perform.

While Thinking about Kanye and The Sunday Service

It’s almost a week removed and the images, memes and videos are still circulating of Kanye West at Northerly Island for Sunday Service. The most famous or “infamous” is him “parting the sea” of people and clarifying to security that Chicago is “his city”. Now, I’m not here to debate whether that proclamation is right or wrong; I’m more amazed at the perfect timing of that moment being caught. I have my own thoughts and theories about everything surround that day. I’ll keep them to myself for now. However, I almost always get turned off or away by the “Extraness” of artist and people in the industry. It’s not to negate or undervalue the talent and quality product. It’s just a reminder of there being some things I can really do without ever seeing. That video is one of those moments.

This morning another meme surrounding Sunday Service brought me to another personal revelation. You know why I’m still a big fan of Nas yet my fandom is in check?

Cause Nas never tried to make me “believe in him”. He may have been carrying a “golden child” or “prodigy” stigma early in his career, but he never truly embraced it and ran with it at a warped speed that would prop him on a pedestal to put people in a state of worship. Even in the act of calling himself “God Son”, there is still a great deal of humbleness and maybe even meekness there. Nas is a legend, cultural icon, a King and a Giant in hip-hop, with none of the extra frills.

Sure, maybe he didn’t “work as hard as others” to have multiple hit records, multi-platinum albums and be the stat machine other rappers are. Maybe he did lose the materialistic race that rappers compete in. And I get he didn’t end up the guy with the most money that’s recognized nationally as everybody’s “Big Homey”. All of those things he may lack, yet there aren’t many “Rap Mt Rushmore’s” that he won’t be on. He made a mark and succeeded without truly playing the industry game. His contribution is still important without mega star allure. He matters and not because he made a living out of telling us why he matters. I respect that.

Sure, Kanye, Jay, Pac and Biggie will more than likely be put over Nas in many Top 5’s based on numbers and national impact criteria, but for over 2 decades whether in combat, controversy and collecting accolades, he remained a cool, conscious, self aware human being. The money, fame and women never got to him. He was never thirsty to be noticed or to make a moment. He is the moment because he showed up.

AZ, Jungle, Nore, Steve Stoute, Kelis or anyone in a 6 degree of separation of Nas has never been asked to explain “why they mans on goofy shit” or “What’s wrong with him?” Nas saw his best friend get murdered, his mom die of cancer and had the mother of one of his children try to slander him after being intimate with his rap rival. All that and not once do we say “Nas did some clown shit right there”.

I admire and strive to be in that space. I never want to put my circle in a position where they feel they may have to justify why they stand with me. I also don’t know how I would react if I had one dude in the crew constantly seeking attention by any means and trying to say it’s ok because of his talent, status or how much he has. That’s just not for me.

I’m a fan of Kanye West music. That will never change. I’m super cool on the worship though. Every level of it; I’m good.

Nas was Right

It’s truly wild to have so many FB memories with people I don’t speak to anymore…

So many full blown conversations, laughs and memories shared. All seemingly meaning nothing now. It’s honestly sad. You go through life thinking that some people will always be around. That the moments that brought you together create an inseparable bond, but you’re wrong. I understand nothing is forever, but it’s just a reminder how death isn’t the only thing that separates us. One day, we will live, laugh, love and function in our same space and place and there will be new characters in the story of our lives. The old characters will have spin offs. You may make a cameo appearance, be a flashback or not even have a seat at the production meeting. For better or worse you may truly never know. It’s going to happen though. Just prepare yourself for the day.

Nas was right…”Love Changes and Best Friends become strangers”