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Nas: My Life in 20 Songs

From before 'Illmatic' to 'Life Is Good,' the storied Queens rapper looks back on two decades of music

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"No Introduction"

Life Is Good (2012)

A lot of times, when you do a record or a new album, you’re kind of re-introducing yourself to the rap world or the music world, so the first song had to be reminding people like, let’s go through a story with me on who I am, you know? I wanted to lay it all out. The self-censoring stuff were lines that fell on the editing floor. I’d think some things, then go, "Nah, can’t reveal that." I exaggerated a little bit. Say, for example, "syrup sandwiches and sugar water" was a thing that a lot of kids in my neighborhood ate. I didn’t grow up needing sugar water. There were days when there was nothing there and groceries are on their way and we remembered a story: some of our poorer friends had syrup sandwiches and we tried it and I hated it. But I remember kids swearing by these terrible, makeshift meals, and it was memories like that that wound up in the music.

 

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