On this day in Hip-Hop history, Nas released his sixth studio album, God’s Son, in 2002. This may be Nas’ most emotional album coming at a rough time in his personal life. With the passing of his mother and his bout with fellow New York rapper Jay-Z at its height, Nas catered his lyricism to be more introspective in relation to his own trials and tribulations. Nas crowned himself “God’s Son” in tribute to his mother’s legacy and to point out a self-acclaimed likeness to Jesus Christ.
The production Nas collected for this project was astounding. Working with The Alchemist, Salaam Remi, Eminem, and even Alicia Keys helped to create a sound true to New York Hip-Hop with its own modern twist. Salaam Remi produced the bulk of the album and in a time when rap was something for the club and a Neptunes’ beat was a signature this soulfully classic sound was refreshing. The beats alone were critically acclaimed being mentioned in Vibe and Stylus Magazine and by countless critics.
Lyrically, Nas went in the opposite direction of what was popular at the time. As always, there was a true and necessary message behind everything that was said on the album, not to mention his flow and delivery were impeccable. The content was also deeply connected to what was going on in his own life. His references on songs like “Warrior” and “Last Real N***** Alive” were in reverence of his recent past mother. He even dedicated the track “Dance” to his mom. There were also a lot of Christian undertones throughout the album. Whether it be through titles of a song or metaphorically in bars spat, Nas’s religious views were intertwined with the majority of this album. Some of the other lyricists featured on the album were Alicia Keys and Nas’s ex-wife Kelis.
Commercially, this album was successful as well. It was certified platinum on January 14, 2003, and peaked at #18 on the US Billboard 200 chart. It also claimed the #1 spot on the Billboard Hip Hop/ R&B chart. The singles from this album, “Made You Look”, “I Can”, and “Get Down,” were also hits. Two of the Three released claimed spots on the Billboard Hot 100. “Made You Look” peaked at #32 and “I Can” peaked at #12. “I Can” has become a timeless song in Hip Hop over the years being an anthem of lifelong success for children in the black community.