Nas’ Masterclass was a blessing to watch and learn from. The 12-part series gave me a lot of insight, not just on how Nas hears, feels, and creates music, how he learned to do what he does, how he achieved his success, and how he has been inspired to go even higher. And to my surprise, watching and listening to Nas showed me a lot about myself.
Nas talked about the early days in the game before it became one of the most impactful music genres and cultural forces in the world. He expressed how hip-hop culture was considered “hoodlum” and scary. And how back before he was signed he had to hustle and earn a spot in the game as opposed to now where people can do just about anything and become famous.
Watching the course, each module about 10 minutes each in length, I felt like I was right there in the studio with Nas and able to see what goes into him getting his lyrics down pact. It was interesting to know that he prefers to use his phone as his pen instead of a pen and pad-like he did in the past. He mentioned that with his phone he can “be more in the moment.”
His form of storytelling through rap is very unique although it may be simple to most. In doing so, he allows the story to “describe emotions, goals, and setbacks while finding the details in the story that really matters, “That’s the beauty of writing”, he stated.
What made this experience magical to me is the moment of it all. I know we hear stories of all the times the legendary ones went through so much hurt and pain in order to grow and become what they were in order to be what they are now. The fact that you can make something so ugly become beautiful throughout our origin of not only music but our history is magic in itself. Being able to tell stories over and over again through tons of albums and works of art and still keep your audience on edge is an amazing gift, a gift that I one day hope to fulfill.
The last and main takeaway from this class is when Nas says that we need to “fall in love with our words, how we sound, and our voice”. This means the most to me because without our own voice we have nothing. We all need to remember that our voice is everything to us and even to those that we inspire.
As an aspiring writer, taking this course has already changed the way I process and present my writing. You never know what’s next and you never know how someone will influence you until they do. Nas’ masterclass was that moment for me.