Nas’ Grammy Win is one sweet deal as the rapper has made a strong comeback to win his first Grammy after 25 years. Although he has been in the game for a while and has received 13 Grammy prior nominations, he failed to reel in the big gold in the past.
His first nomination came in 1996 in the category for “If I Ruled The World,” featuring Lauren Hill from his album, It Was Written. His most recent nomination was in 2013 for Life is Good.
The Queens rapper secured his first Grammy for Best Rap Album for King’s Disease. The 47 year was able to edge out competitors “Black Habits” by D Smoke, “A Written Testimony” by Jay Electronica, “Alfredo” by Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist, and “The Allegory” by Royce da 5’9″.
The album, released on August 21 last year, saw the single “Ultra Black” leading as a celebration of Black Culture in America. Nas has always been a conscious artist, and his music has always had certain significance for black identity, but it’s remarkable that at a time when people are more socially conscious and aware of global shifts in attitudes, especially towards black empowerment, racism, police brutality that his music is finally getting the recognition it deserves.
Perhaps it could be that his message has arrived at the right time, or more people are attuned to the message. In a recent interview, Nas said his intention was to make an inspirational song like James Brown’s “Say it Loud- I’m Black and I’m Proud,” released in 1968. According to him, songs like these are needed as anthems because of “the foot on our necks.”
“We’re in a world right now where we’re facing some really terrible racist practices, and there are people who don’t realize it’s happening,” he said. “So these records were made to remind us that we are God’s creation, just like every white man, every Asian brother and everyone else.”
The winning 13-track album is the first project with Hit-Boy and saw appearances from the likes of Charlie Wilson, Don Toliver, Lil Durk, Anderson .Paak, Fivio Foreign, A$AP Ferg, Nicki Minaj, Dr. Dre, AZ, and Cormega, among others.
The album landed at the #5 spot because of its 47k album-equivalent units sold during the first week of release.
Nas is one of rap’s longstanding and known most skilled hip-hop emcees of all times since dropping his first album, Illmatic, in 1994.
Meanwhile, fans reacted with joy at the win, and a video of the executive producer of the winning album- Hit-Boy, went viral for his emotional reaction at the win. The producer is best known for his Grammy wins for records with Kanye West and Jay-Z in 2013 and Nipsey Hussle in 2020.
He tweeted “motivated to put more work in,” in reference to his win with Nas. He also said on Instagram, “Nittersweet moment for me. I’m dedicating this years Grammy for best rap album to Reggie Warren fro the legendary R&B group troop who sadly passed away today…I love my brothers Nas and Big Sean. We got more work to do…KINGS DISEASE!!!”
Best Rap Album ? pic.twitter.com/j5fOpxneX5
— Hit-Boy (@Hit_Boy) March 18, 2021