Some of hip-hop’s biggest names have turned out to be the most powerful storytellers of recent times. Everybody can try their best to come up with their own list of the 5 most influential rappers of the past 25 years, and you can be sure there would be much overlap across the board.
One person that can consistently be found on the high end of such lists is Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, better known to most as Nas. Raised on music, the New York City star has made a living being one of the greatest storytellers of all time. His 8 straight platinum albums can attest to that. Stated simply; people want to hear what Nas has to say.
Let’s take you back to his third studio album, I Am…, which hit stores in the spring of 1999. To me this could be one of the best front-to-back hip-hop/rap albums ever released. But today we’re going to focus in on one track, the album’s finale, Undying Love.
From the moment Nas takes the microphone, he begins painting his blank canvas with imagery of a loud, smoke-filled, Vegas casino for a weekend of respectable partying away from home. But upon returning home early, he smells a combination of weed and incents, sees empty beer bottles smeared with lipstick, and finally, through the crack of the bedroom door, spots his wife in bed with another man.
After a quick chorus of disappointment and remorse, the cut-throat intensity Nas brings on the vocal track bumps up a notch, mirroring his rising temper while considering his next move. He grabs one of his boys for backup, and on his way back to the house where he saw what he had never expected, the only thing on his mind is the ring in his pocket that he planned to give to the woman he thought he knew better.
As he returns home: guns are fired, police sirens are heard, and Nas sees only one exit strategy for not only one of the best hip-hop albums of the 90’s, but one of the greatest story’s ever told.
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