1. “No Idea’s Original” – This song’s a standout from Nas’ album called The Lost Tapes. Few instrumentals have fit his rhymes better than this track produced by The Alchemist. Makes you wonder why the two only have a couple of collaborations. Hopefully they change that on the next Nas album.
  2. “Made You Look” – This right here is an NYC anthem. Nas glides on the beat with the confidence of a king. He claims such a title in the song and it’s hard to argue with him when you hear the bars on it.
  3. “I Gave You Power” – Nas shows his creativity on this one by speaking from the perspective of a gun, adding a dimension to his trademark commentary on street life. Songs like this helped It Was Written prove that Nas’ debut was no fluke.
  4. “Rewind” – With the last song in mind, Nas established his creativity early in his career. Yet, he took it to another level on “Rewind” by telling a story backwards without compromising its coherence. Amazing.
  5. “N.Y. State of Mind, Pt. 2” – Nas and DJ Premier never fail when they work together. It’s hard to believe they could match the magic of part 1 from Illmatic, but they do on this track.
  6. “Life We Chose” – This song’s an example of the dimensions that rappers like Nas add to accounts of street life. He expresses thoughts of regret, accountability and familiarity in a way that goes beyond simple glorification. It might be overlooked in his catalog due to disappointment in Nastradamus, but it’s definitely a standout.
  7. “Just a Moment” feat. Quan – This collaboration is reflective in tone, sound and subject matter. There are plenty of struggles portrayed in it to which fans can relate.
  8. “Y’all My N*ggas” – This track is very relevant today given all of the dialogue about the use of the n-word. Nas speaks to a lot of factors central to the issue: understanding the capacity of the word, the impossibility of eradicating it, internalization of colonial thought, etc. A bold song from a bold album, regardless of its name change.  
  9. Reach Out” feat. Mary J. Blige – Nas and Mary’s collaboration is a track that balances substance and feel-good energy. It perfectly captures the sound of songs heard during block parties and park jams in NYC summers.
  10. “Can’t Forget about You” feat. Chrisette Michele – Another nostalgic jam, only this one’s more mellow. Coming from an album where he mourned hip-hop’s essence, Nas revisits moments that made him fall in love with the music and culture. And his chorus on it is slick. “Never on schedule, but always on time.”

***Bonus. “Topless” w/ T.I. & Dr. Dre – This song doesn’t appear on any of his projects, but it still deserves some attention. It’s one of the many songs that were originally intended for Dr. Dre’s scrapped album Detox. Nas and T.I. both shine over Dre’s trademark sound. A proper release of the song would please a lot of fans.

There you have it – 11 of the best Nas songs since his debut. No one should doubt the man’s catalog. Hopefully we’ll hear new contenders for the list sooner than later.

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