Arts & Entertainment, Music

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Lesson time 11:56 min

Discover Nas’s life story and how writing lyrics and making music became a way for him to channel his thoughts and served as a form of therapy. Learn Nas’s take on the importance of ambition and drive in pursuing your dreams.

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

Topics include: Nas Teaches Hip-Hop Storytelling


[MUSIC PLAYING] - Today, hip hop is a reason to get up. You can't wait to get up and hear that song you love. You can't wait to feel better about your life because of that song. You can't wait to sing along with that record, dance to that record, be inspired by the words to that song. Hip hop is our morning coffee, our vegan turkey and eggs. It's our vitamins. It's our power source. It's our theme music. Hip hop's growth and the globalization is a wave, a tidal wave, that's taking the world over and it's good for the world. When I got into listening to rap music, they didn't want it on the radio. It was looked down as, like, hoodlum stuff. It's gone from that to this global phenomenon. The attitude of hip hop was to expose, bring the truth to light, and live in your greatness. Hip hop used to scare people. It used to-- the music, the energy, the spirit of it, it would wake you up, the drum, the voice, - We going ultra Black. - In this MasterClass, I'll be teaching you about hip hop, lyricism, and flow. I will show you how to write powerful lyrics that paint a picture. I'll be teaching you how to find your inspiration and how to develop your point of view. We'll really get deep into it so you get a whole look inside my journey, what got me here. Just by starting, you're halfway there. You know more than you think you know. [MUSIC - NAS, "MADE YOU LOOK"] - Now let's get it all in perspective. For all y'all enjoyment, a song y'all can step with. - I was around seven years old when I started to notice a certain concentrated sound, a certain sound that was just different from disco and the R&B that was out. It was a sound that merged the two but there was this cool voice telling you how it was, what was to come, and it was just my language. - Come on, come on, come on, come on, somebody say ho. - Ho. - Say ho, ho. - Ho, ho, - And I would hear it from the big radios that the guys had or the park jams where they brought all this equipment and these huge speakers outside to the park and played their music real loud. I started to hear songs and you knew something new was happening. You knew there was something happening and you felt like you belonged to it, it belonged to you, and there was a lot we were going to see with this new music. The first ones I heard on record was Kurtis Blow and Melle Mel and the Furious Five. Eventually, it was Run DMC in 1983 and that was it. I knew this is what I wanted, this is who I am. I always felt something special in me as a kid. I don't know if other kids felt that or not. There was something about the arts that was calling me and that probably had a lot to do with my pops who had been on stages and wrote music. And I would see, like, his sheets of music. I never saw anyone write music before and I would watch him write music. And it was like another language. And I'm like, how do you know what that means? How is this marked at the ...

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.

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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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