Nas Was Only 16 When He Wrote Illmatic. He Reminisces On The Music That Made Him (Video)

Since his days of being “too scared to grab the mics in the park” and “breakin’ into candy factories,” Nas’ youth is legendary. Since Illmatic, the son of Jazz trumpeter Olu Dara and Anne Jones chronicled his adolescence in rhyme. The Hip-Hop culture listened, and apparently related to an MC who later celebrated his “second childhood.”

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In 2018, the Timberland company will celebrate its 100th birthday. Approaching that milestone, the New England-based apparel giant is working in tandem with the Hip-Hop culture that’s helped make it legendary.

Timberland has used Nas’ lens to create a one-minute video based on Nasir Jones’ days before linking with Large Professor, Eric B. & Rakim, MC Serch, and Kool G Rap. In those days, he was a hungry MC who wanted to be heard far and wide beyond the tall project houses of Q.B.

“Before there was Rap, there was Jazz,” an animated Nas says, in the Timberland spot. “My father played the trumpet, so for me, that’s where my journey started.” The Queens Bridge and other iconography from Nas’ rhymes appear in the artful advertisement.

According to Ad Week, future video spots focus on Nas’ first MC battle (he lost to an older girl in the neighborhood) and his first trip to a recording studio—which is believed to be with Extra P and Main Source.

Nas name-checks the brand on 2002’s “Made You Look” single: “Don’t start none, won’t be none / No reason for your mans to panic / You don’t wanna see no ambulances / Knock a pimp’s drink down in his pimp cup / That’s the way you get Timberland’d up / Let the music diffuse all the tension / Baller convention, free admission.

Timberland is also turning the animations to a comic book, available at Foot Locker retail locations. There is also a hand-painted mural on the side of a brick building in Brooklyn, New York too.

Throughout the ages, other artists such as Boot Camp Clik, ONYX, M.O.P., Das EFX, and others helped make the “construction Tim” a Hip-Hop institution, especially in the northeast. Further, producer/MC Timbaland also created his moniker after the brand, long before becoming a Pop music sensation.

Timberland is the latest in a long line of brands that appear to honor the Hip-Hop culture. Adidas, Sprite, FUBU, Samsung, Nike, Sprint, Red Bull, and most recently, Google have done the same.