Life’s A Bitch

“”Life’s a Bitch” summed up my expression and my message of who I was at the time. The overarching message was that there’s more to life than what most people may think. In the beginning, I say, “Clothes, bankrolls and hoes” and it’s gotta be more to life than that. I wrote, “I woke up early on my born day/I’m 20/It’s a blessing” and that feeling of being alive was strong. I had already felt like I’d been through a lot and I was just happy to be alive.”Nas (319)

The World Is Yours

“That whole song was inspired by Scarface. There’s a scene where [Tony Montana – Ed] took his queen and took over in the movie. He goes out on the balcony for some air, looks up out the sky and says, “It’s time.” At this point in time, he sees a blimp with the message “The world is yours” right there. That’s how real life is, you know? You’ll see a sign or some symbolism of what you’re going through; things that happen that tell you you’re at the right place at the right time. It was scenes and symbols like this that I grew up on that really made a difference in my head.”Nas (319)

Hate Me Now

“After my first record, they were like, “You can’t do it again. He can’t do this. He can’t do that. He’s not as big as this one. He’s not as big as that one. He’ll never be around again. He’s too grimy. He’s too street. He has a bad following. People around him start trouble.” I had a bad rap, so I blew that away with the second album. So now they mad at that, and found a different reason to be mad at me. So “Hate Me Now” was the appropriate record at the time.”Nas (319)

2nd Childhood

“How many grown ups do you see every day that still act like children? It’s a shame. In life, with your woman, your man, your family, there’s grownups who you expect so much more from are just really nothing more than a child. They’re big kids and these are people with power I’m talking about, so “2nd Childhood” was very important.”Nas (319)

Last Real N—a Alive

“Yeah, sometimes I tell stories, man, and I’ll use my imagination just for the sake of putting a good rhyme together and a good song. But sometimes, like with this one, the songs are just very literal. [The song references, in part, Nas’ public feud with Jay Z in the early 2000s – Ed]. Tupac and Biggie never lived to see the impact that they were going to have. If [Jay and I – Ed] learned anything from that, it was that this had to be different. We owed it—not just for me and him, but to everybody in rap—to those huge, game-changing artists to carry on this thing the right way. It was good that it never got to violence.”Nas (319)


“[Nas’ mother, Fannie Ann Jones, passed away before the release of God’s Son. The rapper wrote this song as a dedication to her – Ed]. My brother can’t listen to that song to this day. But it was an easy one to write for me. It’s an easy one. I had to get it out.”Nas (319)

Thief’s Theme

“We just took a line from “The World is Yours”—You know, “Understandable smooth shit that murderers move with/The thief’s theme/Play me at night/They won’t act right”. That’s the type of music and vibe we were looking for. I wanted to zero in on that and make a thief’s theme. And not for real thieves. I hate thieves. I hate thieves, rapists and pedophiles more than any people in the world. But “Thief’s Theme” is an attitude. It’s not literal. It’s an underworld. It’s not popular. It’s not pop music. It’s music for guys who live in the underworld.”Nas (319)

Who Killed It?

“It was all about James Cagney. I got caught up in all his movies—The Roaring Twenties, really all of his gangster movies—and he’s one of my favorite characters of all time, ever. When he did the gangster movies is just the best shit. So I would play around and talk like him in the studio just for fun. We didn’t plan on doing it as a song, but we just did.”Nas (319)

Not Going Back

“You know in The Godfather 3 there’s a scene when Michael Corleone says, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.” And that’s a moment I think a lot of people deal with. People are always trying to focus on moving forward. That scene resonated with me big time, so “Not Going Back” is that scene. I didn’t get it from that movie, but it’s the same thing. I was just using the movie as a way to see what I’m saying. You’re struck with those moments in your life where you don’t want to be pulled backwards, and you feel that you’re being pulled from all different directions, so “Not Going Back” was that kind of thing.”Nas (319)


“I feel like revolutionaries should be rewarded. I don’t think they feel that way because they’re fighting, but I think that us, the ones they’re fighting for… Say, for example, some revolutionary that died like a martyr, Che, was wounded instead of died. Say JFK was wounded instead of dying. I feel like these were people for the people, even though JFK was a president and you don’t really know what’s going on behind the doors in the White House. I just feel like they deserve some type of pension from the people. I wish I could bring them back here and raise money to put them in a beach house and say, “Man, you did everything. You earned it, man.” There’s people who live and then people who really live and those people deserve it.”Nas (319)