In preparation for the release of his documentary, Time Is Illmatic, which is slated for October, Nas recently sat down with Charlie Rose on PBS to talk about his past, the documentary and more.
During the interview, the two talked about who the Queensbridge native’s biggest influences are and among them were Michael Jackson and Frank Sinatra, two people outside of the genre.
“I like when [Sinatra] said, ‘I did it my way,'” Nas explained. “I didn’t know Frank Sinatra’s name. I heard about his name when I was a kid, but the song ‘My Way’ stood out to me, as a kid.”
During the interview, Nas also called Queensbridge “school” and made the point that not enough is said positively about the community when neighborhoods are mentioned in Rap lyrics.
“[It meant] everything,” he said. “It was school. The real school. It was survival of the fittest. It was beautiful. A lot of times when you hear rap artists talk about, we don’t get a chance to talk about the beauty of the community also.”
Regarding the documentary, Nas said he wanted “nothing to do with” it until he met with the film’s directors and was impressed with their work.
“This was a couple years in the making by two cool guys,” he said. “One9 and Eric Parker, they put this together and I had, I wanted nothing to do with it. Something about them, they kept at it and they was really so determined to get it done that, I thought it had gone away and just last year we had sat down and they showed me how much they’d done and I just had to take my hat off and finally sit down and do an interview and let them in and I’m glad I did.”
Time Is Illmatic was recently purchased by Tribeca Film, which includes the U.S. distribution rights to the documentary.
Nas Says He Changed The Game
During the interview, Nas spoke about the state of Hip Hop and how it compares to his early days in the genre.
“Today it’s a lot easier to get into the Rap game but, back then in ’94, it was a lot harder,” he says.
When asked by Charlie Rose whether or not he changed Hip Hop Nas replied: “Yes. Yes I did and it was my point to. I was a new voice and being a new voice, automatically it was beyond my control.”
Nas also spoke about his impact and the influences that he was inspired by.
“I’ve influenced [a few artists] for sure and I’ve been influenced by a lot of artists as well… Slick Rick, Ice Cube, LL Cool J, Eric B and Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, A Tribe Called Quest, Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra. [It’s a] wide list.