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Nas on being inspired by hip-hop artists his age: I can’t look to them as reference


Scott Kowalchyk/CBS

At 49 years old, Nas is still pushing out new music for his fans, but he doesn’t get his inspiration from hip-hop artists his age. Speaking on Stephen Colbert‘s late night talk show, the rapper explained that a lot of his peers are simply not releasing much material.

“I’m really trying to figure out what my next move is, and I feel like a lot of hip-hop artists my age are not putting out a lot of material, so I can’t look to them as reference,” Nas said. “They kind of slowed down—for whatever reasons. I understand it’s a tough thing,” he continued. However, he “got bit by the bug,” releasing the third installment of his King’s Disease series with producer Hit-Boy back in November.

“I collaborated with this cat Hit-Boy who’s, like, the best, and he’s produced all of those albums: King’s Disease IIIIII,” he said. “We’re kind of inspiring ourselves at this point. It’s really interesting.”

He noted that he’s specifically inspired by Hit-Boy’s “youth” and added their working relationship is a mutual one in which the producer gains some knowledge from a hip-hop veteran.

“He’s younger than me. I’m hooking up my jumper cables to him, and this is reciprocal because he’s getting some kind of wisdom from me,” said Nas. “We’re just a perfect match.”

King’s Disease came out in 2020 and later won Nas his first Grammy. The sequel dropped in August 2021, and the third was released on November 11. On February 24, the rapper will take the trilogy to the Madison Square Garden stage. It will be his first performance at the venue.

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