Nas knows as well as anyone the importance of building a legacy. Throughout a career spanning nearly 30 years, the legendary MC has inspired generations through his storytelling, evocative lyricism and introspective songs. He makes music for the builders, the dreamers and the believers, providing the soundtrack to power us to greater heights. Through his music, he shares sage advice on how to navigate life and leave something for those coming up after us.

Below, we've parsed through 13 studio albums and numerous guest features to share some of the powerful knowledge that the Queensbridge legend has blessed upon us so far. 

My Generation

“What’s up with tomorrow? Will you lead? Will you follow? Improve your values, education is real power. I reach them like Bono, so get rid of your self sorrow.”

In this track, Nas links up with Damien Marley and Joss Stone for another jolt of motivation. He stresses the importance of building generational wealth. It takes stepping up to the plate to “break the cycle” and “get wealthy like Wells Fargo.” And he believes the new generation will be the ones to make the change.

The World Is Yours

“It’s mine, it’s mine, it’s mine. Who’s world is this? The world is yours.”

This is one of the most memorable songs from the legendary Illmatic album, serving as an anthem for not only charting your own path, but owning it. The chorus, tag-teamed by Pete Rock, provides a simple but powerful ethos: the world, and all the opportunity that comes with it, is yours for the taking. You just have to seize it.

The World Is Yours (Re-Mix Version)

“Thinking a word best describing my life to name my daughter. My strength, my son, the star, will be my resurrection. Born in correction, all the wrong shit I did, he'll lead a right direction.”

In another powerful line from this hip-hop classic, Nas talks about another form of legacy: his children. Nas eventually found that “word best describing my life,” naming his daughter Destiny. He plays off the Biblical phrase, “The sins of the father shall be visited upon the son a thousand times,” insinuating the mistakes that he has made in his life can serve as lessons to help his child grow. He will be his “resurrection,” and in some ways a brand new incarnation.


“They grow fast, one day she's your little princess. Next day she's talkin' boy business—what is this? They say the coolest playas and foulest heart breakers in the world. God gets us back, he makes us have precious little girls.”

In “Daughters,” Nas reflects on being a girl dad and how mistakes he’s made in the past come back to haunt him through raising her. He thinks about all the trouble he gave women, and sees karma playing out as a father. It’s a continuation of a common theme in Nas’ music: legacies aren’t just about the road ahead, but the decisions we make along the way.

I Can

“Before we came to this country, we were kings and queens, never porch monkeys. There was empires in Africa called Kush. Timbuktu, where every race came to get books”

In this inspirational song, Nas reminds us of our regal roots and the power that our blood holds. Our ancestors were noble and much revered. We have to remember that, and not let anyone keep us down. Let us walk with with our heads held high.



“Look in the jungle, you gotta move like an animal. Prey on the predators, go where anybody that challenge you. Board rooms, court rooms it will leave you with war wounds.”

In this newer entry to his discography, the Queensbridge legend drops some advice and knowledge for anyone trying to ascend in their career. He says to build a legacy, you have to be proactive, not reactive. Embrace the challenge, don’t run from it. It may leave you scarred, but like a war wound, you can hold any setback as marker of how far you’ve come and the battles you fought to be successful. 

Project Windows

"Plan to leave something behind so your name will live on. No matter what, the game lives on."

Nasir’s vivid storytelling is on full display in this track off of Nastradamus, where he details life in the New York projects with “black hoods, cops” and “sewers flooded with blockage.” As he looks out his window, he reflects on feeling “uninspired,” and being motivated by what he wants to leave behind for his family and children.

Triple Beam Dreams

"I would be Ivy League if America played fair, poor excuse."

Nas is the featured artist on this Rick Ross track, but completely takes over with a standout verse about failure. But it’s not a tale of regret. Nas believes we are all accountable for our own actions. He knows there are systemic issues and barriers holding Black people back, and they may have impacted him too. But he still feels that’s not an excuse to not be excellent.