Singular Conception: The way in which something is perceived or regarded; Select idea

Nas is without a question one of the greatest emcees ever to bless the microphone. He has eleven powerful solo albums including debatably the greatest hip-hop album of all time, his debut ‘Illmatic.’ Although he paints pictures with his words, analyzes worldly ideas and issues with a genius mindstate, he himself has said “I notice all my flaws when it comes to writing rhymes, subject matter be changing too quickly at times.” Here is a list of the 50 greatest verses that hold and conquer a single subject.

50. Testify

Verse: First

Album: Untitled

Concept: Attack Hatred 

Summarizing Line: “Choke him out with his Confederate flag.” 

49. Getting Married

Verse: First

Album: Street’s Disciple 

Concept: Settling Down

Summarizing Line: “This is a thug’s wedding day, in love.”

48. Shoot ’em Up

Verse: Second

Album: Nastradamus 

Concept: A History of Violence 

Summarizing Line: “Aiming with our guns at each others faces, at the same time.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OMwF-oo7Pw

47. U.B.R. (Unauthorized Biography of Rakim) 

Verse: First 

Album: Street’s Disciple 

Concept: Nas’s Influence 

Summarizing Line: “At sixteen, son was watching him, mesmerized.”

46. America

Verse: Third

Album: Untitled 

Concept: Barbarism In The U.S

Summarizing Line: “How far we really from third world savagery?”

45. K-I-SS-ING

Verse: Third

Album: I Am… 

Concept: Love Withstands Human Flaws

Summarizing Line: “For some reason yo, she had me stuck and I had her in my web too.” 

44. Roses 

Verse: Second

Album: Life Is Good 

Concept: Post Break-Up Bitterness

Summarizing Line: “You know when you wrong, and still want to fight.”

43. Hero 

Verse: Third

Album: Untitled

Concept: Corporate Restrictions

Summarizing Line: “Try telling Bob Dylan, Bruce, or Billy Joel they can’t sing what’s in their soul.”

42. N.Y. State of Mind (Part 2)

Verse: First

Album: I Am… 

Concept: Horrific Living Standards 

Summarizing Line: “Broken glass in the hallways, bloodstained floors.” 

41. Big Things

Verse: Third

Album: I Am… 

Concept: Selfish Peers

Summarizing Line: “We on the same team, you don’t wanna pass the ball.”

40. Shootouts

Verse: First

Album: It Was Written

Concept: Street Snitches

Summarizing Line: “I heard she let jake investigate from her window.” 

39. The Set Up

Verse: Second

Album: It Was Written

Concept: Revenge

Summarizing Line: “Let’s get him now, look at him smile.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYFy2t-q6pE

38. Where Are They Now?

Verse: First

Album: Hip Hop Is Dead

Concept: Forgotten Pioneers 

Summarizing Line: “They the reason that rap became addictive.” 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1YOg0nRdvU

37. Accident Murderers 

Verse: Third

Album: Life Is Good

Concept: Stray Bullets Kill 

Summarizing Line: “And for that girl who never made it home, shot in the dome.”

36. Fried Chicken 

Verse: First

Album: Untitled

Concept: Fried Chicken as a Metaphor For Harmful Women 

Summarizing Line: “Don’t know what part I love the best, your legs or your breast.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkT2W4HbPh4

35. World’s An Addiction

Verse: Third 

Album: Life Is Good

Concept: Vices

Summarizing Line: “So many vices, habits.”

34. Sly Fox

Verse: Third

Album: Untitled 

Concept: Fox News’ Biast 

Summarizing Line: “Only black man Fox love is in jail or a dead one.”

33. Ghetto Prisoners

Verse: Second

Album: I Am…

Concept: God’s Will The ‘Forgotten’

Summarizing Line: “Sinners who faithless, still there’s hope, pray it’s answered.” 

32. Cherry Wine

Verse: First

Album: Life Is Good

Concept: Soulmate Material 

Summarizing Line: “Your smile put me at ease, you’re the woman I need.” 

31. Poppa Was a Playa

Verse: Second

Album: The Lost Tapes

Concept: Olu Dara Jones 

Summarizing Line: “That’s why I show my pop love.” 

30. Rule

Verse: First

Album: Stillmatic 

Concept: Fight For Peace 

Summarizing Line: “Call a truce, World peace, stop acting like savages.” 

29. I Want To Talk To You

Verse: Second 

Album: I Am… 

Concept: Racial Segregation With Employment

Summarizing Line: “Mr. Governor imagine if it was your kids that starved.”

28. Last Real Nigga Alive

Verse: First

Album: God’s Son

Concept: 90’s New York Tension in Hip-Hop

Summarizing Line: “There’s more shit than wanting to be this King of New York shit.”

27. Favor for a Favor

Verse: Fourth

Album: I Am…

Concept: Family Obligations

Summarizing Line: “I share witcha drama, you share with mine.”

 26. Pussy Killz 

Verse: Second

Album: God’s Son

Concept: Relationship Paranoia

Summarizing Line: “He pictured ’em making noises, grinding and kissing him.”

25. Trust

Verse: Second

Album: Life Is Good

Concept: Lost Friendship

Summarizing Line: “Takes real men to squash beef.”

24. Project Roach

Verse: First

Album: Untitled

Concept: Roaches as a Metaphor for Project Housing Conditions

Summarizing Line: “Stale food that’s molded, a roach is what I am, fool.” 

23. Small World

Verse: First

Album: I Am…

Concept: Lady Kingpin

Summarizing Line: “She fucks killers in her condo, her Benz and her boat.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHBkcjYLx7Q

22. The Message

Verse: Second

Album: I Am…

Concept: Friend To Foe

Summarizing Line: “Contemplatin’ war with niggas I was cool with before.”

21. 2nd Childhood

Verse: Third

Album: Stillmatic

Concept: An Immature Mother

Summarizing Line: “Her kid suffers, he don’t get that love he deserve.” 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0uQwG9ycF0

20. Dr. Knockboot

Verse: First

Album: I Am…

Concept: Safe Sex Tips

Summarizing Line: “The do’s and don’ts, that should happen in the bed.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrSEGuLgvSc

19. We Will Survive

Verse: First

Album: I Am…

Concept: Relationship with Notorious B.I.G.

Summarizing Line: “Whattup Big, you know shit is rough after you slid.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kxxvc4Tk_ug

18. Undying Love

Verse: Second

Album: I Am…

Concept: Jealousy Leading To Aggression

Summarizing Line: “Kissed my lady, her blood on my lips.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzokAVkFLyQ

17. Purple

Verse: Second

Album: The Lost Tapes

Concept: Inconsiderate Leader

Summarizing Line: “You sell your man out, not even your girl is sacred.”

16. Fetus

Verse: Second

Album: The Lost Tapes

Concept: Nas’s Theoretical Unborn Mind State

Summarizing Line: “They must wanna keep me, cause 4 months past and I’m still alive.” 

15. Black Girl Lost

Verse: Third

Album: I Am…

Concept: A Female Taking Her Value For Granted

Summarizing Line: “Sacred as you are, left with these wannabes to guide you.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiWNjlhHjeg

14. You Can’t Stop Us Now

Verse: First

Album: Untitled

Concept: Black History

Summarizing Line: “Slave food turned to soul food.” 

13. Dance

Verse: First

Album: God’s Son

Concept: Nas’s Tribute To His Passed Mother

Summarizing Line: “Thinking of how amazing she was, an angel gave me love.” 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrTu4dFr-Ow

12. Bye Baby

Verse: Third

Album: Life Is Good

Concept: Divorce Troubles

Summarizing Line: “Half of your soul, half of your heart, you leaving behind.” 

11. Live Now

Verse: First

Album: ciple

Concept: Death Bed Thoughts

Summarizing Line: “Eyes dilated, looking skinny, trying to smile, trying to say something.” 

10. If I Ruled The World

Verse: First

Album: Illmatic

Concept: An Urban Utopia

Summarizing Line: “No welfare supporters, more conscious of the way we raise our daughters.” 

9. Heaven

Verse: First

Album: God’s Son

Concept: What If Heaven Was a Mile Away?

Summarizing Line: “Would you pray louder, finally believe in his power.” 

8. Money Is My Bitch

Verse: First

Album: I Am…

Concept: A Woman Metaphorically Representing Money

Summarizing Line: “I keep a stash safe kid, when I proposed it made her face big.” 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gffRbMr5x60

7. I Gave You Power

Verse: Third

Album: It Was Written

Concept: Personification of a Gun

Summarizing Line: “My creation was for black to kill blacks.”

6. Thugz Mansion (N.Y.)

Verse: Third

Album: God’s Son

Concept: Heaven For Thugs

Summarizing Line: “Cause one day we’ll all be together, sipping heavenly champagne.”

5. Last Words

Verse: Second

Album: Nastradamus

Concept: Personification of a Jail Cell

Summarizing Line: “I’m the place many fear cause there’s no way out.” 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LJvYYPw6_I

4. Daughters

Verse: Second

Album: Life Is Good

Concept: Responsibilities of Being a Father To a Daughter

Summarizing Line: “God gets us back, he makes us have precious little girls.”

3. One Love

Verse: First

Album: Illmatic

Concept: A Letter To An Incarcerated Friend

Summarizing Line: “What up kid? I know shit’s rough doing your bid.” 

2. Stay 

Verse: Second

Album: Life Is Good

Concept: The Thug Love Mystery

Summarizing Line: “I might kill you but do I got love for you?”

1. I Can

Verse: Second

Album: Life Is Good

Concept: Youthful Potential

Summarizing Line: “Smart boys turn to men and do whatever they wish.” 

 

Album Statistics:

Illmatic (1994)

 Songs Listed: 2 (4%)

It Was Written (1996)

Songs Listed: 3 (6%)

I Am… (1999)

Songs Listed: 13 (26%)

Nastradamus (1999)

Songs Listed: 2 (4%)

Stillmatic (2001)

Songs Listed: 2 (4%)

The Lost Tapes (2002)

Songs Listed: 3 (6%)

God’s Son (2002)

Songs Listed: 6 (12%)

Street’s Disciple (2004)

Songs Listed: 3 (6%)

Hip Hop Is Dead (2006)

Songs Listed: 1 (2%)

Untitled (2008)

Songs Listed: 7 (14%)

Life Is Good (2012)

Songs Listed: 8 (16%)

Published by Ryan Klingenberg

Ryan 'Hip-Hop Hercules' Klingenberg is a writer based out of Long Island, New York.

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