Are you ready to find out the truth about Nas? While author Michael Eric Dyson took his best shot at breaking down the legacy of Nasir Jones back in 2009 with his biography, Born To Use Mics, the Queens MC recently announced that he will be putting out his first official autobiography in 2012. The book, set to be co-authored by journalist/VIBE contributor Touré and tentatively-titled It Ain't Hard To Tell, will shed some light on the life and times of Nas, who has endured his fair share of ups and downs both as an individual and as a rapper.
The VIBE staff—and, in particular, Queens native/Nas stan John Kennedy—is looking forward to hearing the QB god explain his story in his own words. But there are a few specific things that we're really hoping Nas and Touré touch on when they sit down to write the autobiography. So, to make sure they've got everything covered, we came up with five questions that we definitely want answered in the book. If it really ain't hard to tell, Nas, then please do tell us more about each of these subjects. It's still about a year away, but we're already anxiously awaiting those answers.
Question 1: When did the beef between you and Jay-Z really begin?
Was it back when Jay was messing around with your ex-girl Carmen Bryan? Or when you were supposed to jump on a track on Reasonable Doubt and reportedly didn't show up to record your verse? Or when he took shots at you on "Takeover"? Exactly when did you and Jay both acknowledge that there was a rift between the two of you—and why did it take until 2001 for it all to come pouring out? Next to the tragic beef between Biggie and 2Pac, this is the beef that most of today's hip-hop fans think about when they think about rap beef, so there better be at least one entire chapter dedicated to you breaking down your beef with Jay. Your legacies are forever tied together, so it's only right.
What was it like recording "Ether" in the studio?
We won't use this entire list to dwell on the Nas/Jay-Z beef, but "Ether" is widely-regarded as either the first or second greatest diss track of all-time, depending of whether you ask a Jay or Nas fan their opinion. So it's only right that It Ain't Hard To Tell features a further analysis of the track as well as some of the details of the recording process. For instance, did you immediately choose the Ron Browz beat for "Ether," or did you try other beats as well? Was "Ether" the first diss track you recorded, or is there another one sitting on a hard drive somewhere that wasn't up to par? Did the disses come easily to you? How long had you been thinking some of the thoughts that you used in your verses? Is there anything you regret saying in the song? We've literally got a thousand questions to ask you about "Ether," but we'll sum them all up by simply asking: What was it like recording it? Your answer should tell us everything we need to know.
What was your mindset when you were putting together Illmatic?
Ask just about any rap fan to put together a list of their ten favorite albums of all-time and Illmatic will probably land somewhere in the top five. So along with all of the scandalous Jay-Z stuff, we're also really interested in hearing more about how Illmatic was created and how it helped you launch your career. There are a lot of stories out there that give us a pretty good idea about how certain songs were crafted, but this is your chance to tell us exactly what went into putting the album together. And, when you were doing it, did you have any idea that you were putting together an album that would be considered a classic? We want to know exactly what you were thinking and feeling at the time. And looking back at it, we also want to know why you think it turned out so well.
What in the world were you thinking when you released Nastradamus?
As you know, your career hasn't been all good. And we're sure you're very aware of the fact that most hip-hop fans don't consider Nastradamus to be your best work. In fact, as far as rap albums go, it's one of the most disappointing albums of all-time. So, just like we want you to look back and tell us why Illmatic was so great, we also want you to look back and tell us why Nastradamus turned out so bad. At the time, did you think it'd be as big of a dud as it turned out to be? Is there anything you'd do differently if you could have the chance to go back and re-record that album? Do you have it on your iPod? (and, if so, WHY?!?) It'd be interesting to hear your take on why the album was panned by fans and critics alike, and it'd give you the opportunity to explain to everyone why you put out such a below-average album
What is the truth behind your marriage to Kelis and your subsequent divorce?
We're sure the gossip sites are already salivating over all of the juicy information that will come out of your book in regards to your relationship with Kelis. While your marriage and divorce were covered heavily, we've never actually heard you talk much about it. And we never really found out exactly what happened between you two, either. This is your chance to use your own words to tell us exactly what went wrong and why it seems Kelis hates you so much these days. Like everything in this book, we'd advise you not to hold back. Because this is your time to tell your side of things and get everything out in the open. And we can't wait to read it.