Nas & Ghostface Killah’s Collabos Set The Stage For A Strong A3C (Audio)
Two of New York’s finest MCs, Nas and Ghostface Killah, have a great history of bringing out the best in each other when they’re on the same track. Both possess intricate storytelling ability, effortless wordplay, and immense street credibility. They’ve only rhymed together but a few occasions. However, the synergy is undeniable.
Their collaborations date back to the early album-making days in their respective, careers. The Queensbridge icon and Wu-Tang Clan legend will be performing as headliners at the 2017 A3C Festival in Atlanta next month. Ahead of the October 8-9 affair, Ambrosia For Heads explores the songs that these two pillars in Hip-Hop’s pantheon have come together to produce.
Mobb Deep featuring Nas, Raekwon & Ghostface Killah – “Eye For An Eye”
As West Coast Gangsta Rap dominated the charts in 1994, Nas and Wu-Tang Clan were making seminal counter-strikes in the name of NYC Hip-Hop. Nas dropped Illmatic in early ’94, and Mobb Deep’s The Infamous followed a year later. Originally, one of the best tracks on the LP, “Eye For An Eye,” featured Nas, Raekwon and Ghostface accompanying M-O-B-B. However, the album version of the track was without Ghost’s well-crafted verse. Mobb Deep’s 2014 expanded album The Infamous Mobb Deep had unreleased material like this on its second disc. Al Green’s “I Wish You Were Here” was sampled on the original version, to which Nasty Nas and Ghostface went in hard with their flows.
Raekwon feat. Ghostface Killah & Nas – “Verbal Intercourse”
When Raekwon dropped his seminal solo debut Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… in 1995, it was also a power-play for Ghost to show out as one of the best MCs among Wu-Tang’s nine members. G.F.K. succeeded in that “Purple Tape co-host” role. Also for the LP, Nas joined his fellow Five Percenters for “Verbal Intercourse.” Over the ethereal RZA beat that samples The Emotions’ “If You Think It (You May As Well Do It),” Nas illuminated the track: (“Through the lights cameras and action, glamour glitters and gold / I unfold the scroll, plant seeds to stampede the globe/ When I’m deceased, by then the beast arise like yeast / To conquer peace leaving savages to roam in the streets / Live on the run, police paying me to give in my gun / Trick my Wisdom, with the system that imprisoned my son“). Tony Starks brought the raw energy with his erudite lyrics as a former Rikers Island inmate discussing jail life to avoid throughout his criminal endeavors and fake MCs wanting ride Wu’s coattails.
#BonusBeat: Nas, Ghostface Killah & Lil Wayne – “Hip Hop Forever”
Nas’ longtime DJ, Green Lantern, brought Nas, Lil Wayne, and Ghost together on 2007’s “Hip-Hop Forever.” More than just a blend, this Sirius Invasion mixtape inclusion had the then-two Def Jam label-mates beside one another in the new era. Nas’ opening “Hope” verse discusses how Hip-Hop saved his life. Meanwhile, G.F.K.’s 16 details dodging stray bullets and drug game exploits. That world made him think he couldn’t overcome the odds, but he found Knowledge of Self to become a supreme MC. The record is an ode to the culture that made both rappers famous, and their verses hold up as examples of why they need to continue doing more work together.
On Sunday, October 8, both Nas and Ghostface Killah will take the stage at A3C, in Atlanta. As the headliner, Nas will follow Ghost, who will no doubt leave the stage simmering. Although they are slated to perform separately, given their past collabos, perhaps, Tony Starks will make a surprise encore while Nasir Jones heats up his one mic. In addition to Nas and G.F.K., the 2017 A3C Festival will feature performances by Just Blaze, Masta Ace, Your Old Droog, Statik Selektah, Saba, Joyner Lucas, Kirk Knight, and IDK, among others.
Here are the full lineups for the main stage: