Here’s What Nas Would Say If He Could Go Back in Time to Stop Tupac & Biggie’s Beef (Video)
Celebrated sports columnist Bill Simmons recently hosted Nas on his weekly HBO talk-show series, the cleverly titled “Any Given Wednesday.” In their discussions, the two discussed far more than the rapper’s interest in sports and the host’s interest in Rap, and along with fellow guests Kevin Durant and Vince Staples, Nas shared some insightful and entertaining thoughts on a variety of topics, including the most infamous Rap beef of all time.
Before remarking on Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G.’s bicoastal war of words and their tragic deaths, the “Nas Album Done” rapper is asked to discuss “Hate Me Now,” the 1999 single which featured Puff Daddy and became the subject of much criticism. “There was definitely a little bit of backlash,” Simmons says of the song and its controversial video, before asking Nas how that affected the music he put out thereafter. “It made it more challenging, because people were saying ‘it’s not the same sound you had before,'” he says. “There was a lot of jealousy and just people not understanding the journey I was taking.”
Shortly thereafter, the conversation turns to the subject of beef, with Simmons inquiring about Nas’s feelings on the contentious relationship with Jay Z in years past, which he describes as “a healthy Rap rivalry.” However, he says, “it went a little too far, but look at the results.” That’s when Simmons brings Tupac and Biggie into the conversation, asking Nas what lessons he learned from their volatile relationship. “Things can go really too far,” he says. “Things can get out of hand, and we’re expected to be leaders, especially coming from the communities we come from. We gotta do better. It’s up to us. We’re responsible these kids that’s lookin’ at us, for our families. It’s not just sex, drugs, and Rock & Roll. It matters.”
In a separate segment of the show called “Speed Round,” Nas is asked by Simmons “if I sent you back to 1995 in a time machine to try to squash the Tupac/Biggie beef, what would have been your move?” Nas provides a moving response that references not only the tragedy that the two icons’s deaths presented, but also the global dominance of the culture they helped inspire. “I would tell them about the impact they were gonna have being dead. That the world was about to become a Hip-Hop planet, even more than it was in ’95. Now it’s global, more than it was then, and they were the leaders. And they were too important to us.”
Nas is also asked to describe what would happen to Donald Trump if he had been born and raised in Queensbridge Houses, Nas’s stomping grounds, rather than Queens, the borough (“He would still be the asshole that he is”); his feelings on Hip-Hop Is Dead ten years after its release and whether the state of the culture is better or worse now (“it’s better because it gave birth to Kendrick, J. Cole, Drake, and a few other great, great artists”); who the best NBA rapper is (“Shaq. That’s the go to because he pulled off an amazing thing”); the collaborations he wish had come to fruition but which didn’t (“Tupac and Biggie”); whether medicinal marijuana should be allowed in the NBA for recovery (“hell yeah”); and more.
Also included in the interviews are Durant’s thoughts on getting into music (“every basketball player wants to be a rapper”) Vince Staples’s words on diss records, and much more.
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