But there's one part of the year he'd rather just forget. His wife, singer Kelis, was arrested a couple of weeks ago in Miami after shouting at undercover police officers. Nas simply shrugged the incident off with a chuckle.
Nas is escaping the drama by getting back in the studio this week, and this time all bets are off. If you can't keep up with his lyrical content, that's on you.
"I'm looking forward to having a summer or fall release," Nas said. "But summer, that's the time of the year I wanna crack it open. I'm having such a good time. Like I said years ago, it's about having fun now. I'm having such a good time, and with the music, I've gotten ahead of myself. I'm just trying to share that with the people now. Because the way I've been feeling after I did [Hip Hop Is Dead], I wanted it to flow a lot freer. I had to get some sh– off my chest about hip-hop being dead. I know I was gonna be over n—as' heads with the title, so I didn't want to just leave n—as and they couldn't catch up. Now I don't care if they don't catch up. I don't care. I'm all the way gone. When I do this next sh–, I'm outta here. I'm not holding back on this one.
"I did what I had to do," he added. "I'm free with it. I've got the fame, I've had the paper for over a decade. I got the love. A n—a is just flying free and having a bunch of fun. I'm getting my greedy on this year and having a ball. I'm getting my greedy on in a good way, though. I'm having fun. I'm like, 'Could it get any better?' In life, you got ups and downs. I'm enjoying the ups."
Nas' transition to the next album is definitely not going to be a swift one. He said he's not done with Hip Hop Is Dead yet. There are still a few songs that he wants to get a big look before he closes it out.
"We're getting ready to shoot the next video now," he said. "I got two directors working on two songs. I don't know which [song] is coming first, so I don't want to say what's coming first, but it's 'Black Republican' and 'Hustlers.' It's looking good. It's looking larger than life. It feels good. I'm probably going to get another single after the next two. 'Cause usually I drop two singles and I'm out of your face until the next album. But I'm getting so many requests to release so many different singles, so I'm gonna try to give this one life before the next one comes out. You gonna probably see a flurry of sh– right before the next album, just so I got it all off on this album."
Esco will hit the road in the next few weeks in support of Hip Hop Is Dead and his whole legacy. He'll be by himself, so he says there will be plenty of time to run through his catalog on the One Man, One Mic, One Night Tour. "My underground hits are way stronger than all my singles have ever been," he said. "But I never been able to [perform] them all because my singles would pull in a certain crowd that only wanted to hear the singles. This type of show is mainly about my street hits — my 'hood anthems.
"I just picked good times to go out in the past," he added about previous outings. "But it's been a long time since I did a long, extensive run. It was time to get my weight up on a run this year. The sh– is different because the way I'm laying it out is different. I've had a format with the way I laid it out for a long time, but I'm switching it up. So since I'm one of the guys that's lucky enough to have a serious catalog, you have to give the people what they haven't heard in years. It could really be their sh–. It could be the song that they played at their man's funeral or their man's wedding. Just songs to take you back. That's the type of records I'm trying to pull out."
Nas' tour starts March 31 in Pittsburgh and ends May 3 in San Francisco. Also coming this year is the MTV reality show "Mr. and Mrs. Jones," which will feature the legendary MC and Kelis.
Nas' One Man, One Mic, One Night Tour dates, according to Def Jam:
3/31 – Pittsburgh, PA @ University of Pittsburgh
4/2 – Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues
4/3 – Baltimore, MD @ Rams Head Live!
4/5 – Norfolk, VA @ The NorVa
4/6 – North Myrtle Beach, SC @ House of Blues
4/7 – Lake Buena Vista, FL @ House of Blues
4/8 – Fort Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution
4/10 – Atlanta, GA @ Tabernacle
4/11 – Charlotte, NC @ Neighborhood Theatre
4/13 – Washington, DC @ Love Nightclub
4/14 – Boston, MA @ Matthews Arena
4/15 – Providence, RI @ Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel
4/16 – Montreal, QC @ Metropolis
4/17 – Toronto, ON @ Kool Haus
4/19 – Detroit, MI @ State Theatre
4/20 – Chicago, IL @ Congress Theater
4/21 – Milwaukee, WI @ Eagles Ballroom
4/22 – Maplewood, MN @ Myth
4/23 – St. Louis, MO @ The Pageant
4/25 – Denver, CO @ Fillmore Auditorium
4/26 – Park City, UT @ Harry O's
4/29 – Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues
4/30 – West Hollywood, CA @ House of Blues
5/1 – Anaheim, CA @ House of Blues
5/2 – San Diego, CA @ 4th & B Concert Theater
5/3 – San Francisco, CA @ TBD