Arts & Entertainment, Music

Hip-Hop Is Our Universe


Lesson time 05:20 min

Nas sums up the global influence of Hip-Hop and how it has changed the world for the better. He reflects on his career and how the genre has evolved to include messages about success and achievement, and he shares some final words of wisdom.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Money, Cars, and Sex · Nas' Reflections


[MUSIC PLAYING] - Hip hop started in the street raw. And it should remain that way. If we can curate it and keep it rocking and show the world what it means, it can be better. It can be bigger. Because now there is no-- it's not diluted, the message. It's about giving it to you in the purest form. [HIP HOP MUSIC PLAYING] I love hip hop music that's about partying, money, cars, and sex. I like movies about that. I like books about that. There's a place for it. And because I come up from the Rakims and the Kool G Rap and all these lyricists, I'm more of a lyricist guy. So even though this fun party record's out, I'm still more drawn to the lyricist. So I think to each his own. I think hip hop has always talked about things we didn't really have but things we aspired to go for, to get after. It was always a color TV so I could see the Knicks played basketball. And it was always ride around in my-- in the fresh OJ, that car from-- what was that car? OJ was broken down for something. And yeah, the suits were clean. It was always about the better life. There was a message in it, years ago, that was consistent. It was about the social ills. It was about crack is killing America. Chuck D. was basically a street news reporter. So I mean, KRS-One was teaching Black African history. It was a different time then. And those records were needed. Coming out of that era, we needed a change. We needed a different outlook. We needed to step up into America in a way where we're not going to allow the doors to be closed anymore. We need record companies. We need to own our record companies. We need to be the managers. We need to be the clothes designers. We need to because we know what we need to look like. We know we need to sound like. We need to be the producers, the engineers, own the studios. We needed that all around the board. That meant money. That meant more business. That meant better lifestyles, bigger lifestyles, more entourage, more records sold. It was inevitable. I never minded it. It was only to the point where it seemed like that was a one-trick bag for certain artists. Then to me it was like, nah, this is wack. But I can't be mad at somebody talking about how their life is leveling up and they want to chill in the Hamptons now. It's not for you to know. Listen, I personally like the Hamptons. [MUSIC PLAYING] Going through my past works in this class has been something I needed because these are songs that I didn't think about in a long time. I didn't say the words in a long time. It was good to go back to those places and remember what was spontaneous, what took me a long time to write, my writing process. I like to go back and think about, what was it like for me to get started? And go back to that kid who knew but didn't know. I think we all kind of know, but there was still so many surprises. I hope I was able to let you in my world. I just wanted to talk to you...

About the Instructor

From the landmark album "Illmatic" in 1994 to the Grammy-winning "King’s Disease," Nas has been exposing truth through rhymes and vivid street poetry for more than 25 years. Now he’s sharing his journey, the evolution of Hip-Hop, and a brand-new song with you. Hip-Hop, lyricism, flow—learn how to tap into the power of your own voice and turn your experiences into music with one of rap’s all-time greatest artists.

Featured MasterClass Instructor


Grammy-winning rapper Nas shares his journey through the evolution of Hip-Hop, breaks down some of his biggest hits, and writes a brand-new song.

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