Album: Untitled (Nas) (2008)
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Hero is one of my favorite songs by rapper Nas. After claiming that hip hop had died on his previous album, Nas raps on “Hero” about stepping up and bringing it back. It is a great collaboration with singer Keri Hilson, who adds sweetness to the lead single from his untitled album. Nas is known for his creativity, which is demonstrated here through his storytelling and choice of background instrumentals.
Rooted in East Coast hip hop, he is regarded as one of the greatest rappers of all time. The son of jazz musician Olu Dara, he began his musical career in 1989 as he adopted the moniker of “Nasty Nas” and recorded demos for Large Professor.
You might know Nas from a highly publicized feud he has with Jay-Z, popularized by the diss track “Ether”. It was this feud, along with Nas’s following albums that assured his critical standing.
After squashing the feud, Nas signed to Jay-Z’s Def Jam Recordings in 2006 and went in a more provocative, politicized direction with the albums Hip Hop Is Dead and his untitled 9th studio album.
Nas’s debut album, Illmatic, received universal acclaim upon release, and is considered to be one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time. In 2020, the album was inducted into the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry.