Nas recently hit Georgetown University for an in depth discussion, in front of a live audience, about the politics involved in Hip Hop. The “illmatic” rapper was joined by Sociology professor Michael Eric Dyson. Nas began the discussion by describing how he first linked up with Dyson.
“We met and I didn’t know he would know my stuff and since then we just clicked,” he said. “He’s had my back. I had his. He’s like one of the smartest guys I’ve ever met.”
“There’s not a lot of people from your generation that really educated people, that have a voice out there, who really can identify with us and you,” Nas added in reference to the largely student-filled audience. “He’s our guy. We been tight for years.”
Nas went on to address his view on the current state of Hip Hop.
“It’s so many layers to that question, where is Hip Hop?” he said. “You talk about 9th Wonder at Harvard, I recently been over there and met with Skip Gates and Dr. Morgan and just watching where Hip Hop is today. Myself, re-releasing an album from 20 years ago is like, ’20 years? That’s crazy.’”
“I don’t see enough emcees who are brave enough to be honest,” he said. “I would like to see more of that. There’s a lot of good stuff. There’s a lot of bad in Rap. The socially conscious stuff can come off sometime as preachy, so a lot of people tend to stay away from it. That ain’t their bag. That’s not what they do. But still, they kind of have some artistic responsibility to do more than what’s the latest trend…I would like to see people remember it’s an artform because the better we all become we push each other to make the whole artform better. Then we won’t have to worry about who won the Grammy.”
Watch the full hour and a half conversation below: