It's nothing personal for rapper Nas

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Nas sounds off on the things enquiring minds want to know.

On the title of his forthcoming album with Damian Marley, Distant Relatives: “It’s just really saying how the music is connected. It all comes from the same place, and we all come from the same place: we all from Africa. Black, white—we all from there. We’re reminding people that we’re all distant relatives and there’s no time in life for racism. Everybody’s really family to be loved.”

On rappers being hassled at the Canadian border: “You got street cats coming through with prior criminal records and shit, and it makes them [the border guards] nervous, man. Canada’s always been like that to musicians. It’s just what it is. Part of the Canadian experience for Americans is customs. That kind of adds something special to it, whether it’s good or bad.”

On what ruins his day: “If everybody around me is just down and I can’t help put a smile on people’s faces around me, that fucks with me. If my daughter’s upset? That’s it. The people I care about, if something’s got them down”¦ I won’t stop until I can help them. Anything else, it doesn’t matter. Anything else is not even real. The only thing real is love.”

Nas admits he’s not perfect, but the rapper says he has skin thick enough to weather all the gossip about him

Back in the day, Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones was just another kid growing up in Long Island City, Queens, New York. Living in Queensbridge Houses, North America’s largest public-housing development, he drew cartoons and wrote short stories, dangled from the monkey bars, and played basketball and soccer at the nearby park. His favourite toys were his Big Wheel tricycle and Atari gaming console, and one of his favourite movies was Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter.

In his mind, he’s still that kid, even though it’s nearly three decades later. So in a year when the platinum-selling rapper’s personal life is garnering more attention than his professional work, the man known today as Nas reacts with bemusement.

“It’s funny that someone would even care about some Nasir Jones shit,” says the MC, on the line from Atlantic City. “I’m still that kid from the block at the end of the day.”¦ So when I watch this shit, it’s surreal. We get a good laugh off it and say, ”˜Hey, they’re talking about me again and it’s some funny shit.’ ”

Some of the “funny shit” that has made it onto celebrity gossip blogs includes rumours that he cheated on his wife of four years, singer Kelis Rogers—an allegation he denies. Fuel was splashed onto the flames on June 4, when the “Milkshake” singer, who filed for divorce in April, posted on Twitter a number of nameless but thinly veiled messages on infidelity, saying “all the scum bag coward husbands and the less then [sic] impressive sluts” deserve each other, and that the husband “is way more at fault”, though the women who partake are “stupid and pitiful”.

“I heard that I was a cheater,” says Nas, who takes on a more determined tone when discussing the matter. “It almost sounds like I was a bad husband. Not to say I was the greatest—I’m not perfect in anything I do—but I think I deserve a fucking trophy. If I do say so myself, without sounding too cocky, I gotta say I was a hell of a husband and a hell of a dad.”

On July 22, Kelis gave birth to the couple’s first child together, a boy named Knight Jones, after 67 hours of labour that she called “three of the longest, most painful days” of her life. TMZ reported that Nas waited outside during the delivery and saw the baby shortly after, despite being turned away from the hospital the night before for being drunk.

The next day, Los Angeles Superior Court judge Louis Meisinger ordered Nas to pay Kelis a hefty US$39,498 in monthly support—$30,471 in spousal support and $9,027 in child support—and $45,000 for her attorney’s fees, according to the Associated Press. It’s a figure based on income declarations and court documents filed by Kelis’s legal team, which allege, among other things, that the rapper pocketed $11 million in a 2006 recording deal with Def Jam. Kelis also claimed that their joint expenses while married exceeded $200,000 per month, that she currently brings in only $21,616 per month in royalties, and that her survival depends on Nas. Nas argued that he only saw about $4 million from the Def Jam deal, and that his monthly income is $147,165, with $71,372 going to expenses.

One would imagine it’s an odd feeling to have one’s divorce, personal finances, and child’s birth make headlines, but this is something Nas has handled with much composure, hardly flinching at the allegations and accusations being flung his way.

“It’s unfortunate when business is out there about your personal shit, especially when you’re really not the guy to be having his shit out there,” he says. “The sad thing is, you’ve got to get used to it. My skin is so thick that I probably need to write a book for people who are not ready for anything crazy.”

Nas is currently coheadlining the annual touring hip-hop festival Rock the Bells, with Damian Marley. The two first collaborated on “Road to Zion” off Marley’s 2005 album Welcome to Jamrock, and are finishing up an album together called Distant Relatives, tentatively set for a fall release. They will be performing a few songs from it, along with solo material, at Rock the Bells.

“I always liked how reggae and hip-hop have always been intertwined and always kind of pushed each other,” Nas says. “I’d worked with people before from the reggae world, but when I worked with Damian the whole workout was perfect. I just knew when we did ”˜Zion’ that we weren’t done.”

When he’s asked what’s next for him, it’s not an album or collaboration that immediately comes to his mind, but a desire to sow his seeds and have more children—to raise, perhaps, his own clan of Joneses to play soccer and basketball and dangle from the monkey bars.

“I’ve been around the Marleys, and children and being fruitful is the Marley way, so I want to have more kids,” says Nas, who also has a teenage daughter, Destiny Jones, from a previous relationship. “I want to be surrounded by my kids, and I want to watch them grow. I was thinking about getting my Bob Marley on.”

Nas plays Rock the Bells at Deer Lake Park on Saturday (August 1).

Comments (11) Add New Comment
sywyld
yo nas needs a better lawyer!!!

great article
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mike dave
yo, that bitch is crazy man! 50 g's a month. man they was only married for only 4-6 years
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Mo
Yo nas man, all the real fathers out there are pissed as sh*t. I know i am, i been through this court nonsense with the childsupport.
I had the system used against me for the wrong reasons. I feel your pain, i dont know how you coping right now, but i would be pissed as sh*t!

Thats really unfair for you to be ordered to pay for all that sh*t. She dont need all of that money, and everyone knows she just want to use that money on herself and not the baby. I mean what baby needs that amount of money anyhow. Hold your head, and fight till you die. Cus that judge is on some real bullishhhh!!
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Ericakane2
Nas Your Ex wife did you Dirty, because she knows that you would never walk away from your "son"! She was in it for the money allthought at some point she may have loved you, but not like you was in love with her and probley still is. Remeber that you have Real Fans who are right beside you! Keep the faith, Let the Truth be told.
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Me
Are all the 'real fathers' out there pissed that he was turned away from the hospital for showing up drunk? SMH niggas ain't shit and she deserved every BIT of that 50k as consolation for dealing with an asshole.
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THE BEST HE EVER HAD!!HAAA
WOW KELIS IS GONNA BE A PAID BITCH! AS A SINGLE MOTHER I THINK THE AMOUNT SHE WAS GRANTED IS CRAZY!! SMH!!! BUT WE DON'T KNO WHAT WENT ON BEHIND DOORS @ THE JONES/ROGERS HOUSEHOLD. U NEVER KNO SHE MIGHT BE ENTITLED TO ALL THAT $$$ the KNIGHT damn sure is
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wow
kELIS WILL NOT BE CAKING OF OF NAS...THEY HAD A SHORT TERM MARRIAGE...SHE IS ONLY ENTITLED TO ALIMONY ON A TEMPORARY BASIS! WHEN THIS DIVORCE IS FINALIZED NAS WILL CONTINUE WITH HIS CAREER! KELIS WILL HAVE TO SUPPORT HERSELF WHEN THE ALIMONY RUNS OUT AND THE ONLY PERSON THAT WILL RECIEVE SUPPORT FROM NAS FOR 18 YEARS IS KNIGHT...WHICH I'M SURE NAS HAS NO PROBLEM WITH AT ALL!!!
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jdea503
I just pray that they can just be social 4 the sake of the child 4real! I've been raising my daughter 4 the last 8 years by myself! Being a man thats tough! It's all about the kids! I tell folks all the time that when you have a kid your life is over & we should focus more on the kids than ourselves! Nas you my nigga tho 4real! Love your music man & congrats on your baby boy! I personally think that's too much money, cause when I got custody of my daughter I told the judge I didnt want any money, but my lawyer said I should get something, so I said just give me $50 dollars a month! You got to wanna be a parent! It aint about money people & I hope Kelis reads this cause all that money aint gone make that child grow to be a real man only love can do that! Be blessed Nas & Kelis & try to be the best parents you both can be!
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Rene'
jdea503...good for you. Do your thing and raise your daughter right....I am sure Nas will figure this out and will do the right thing as far as his son is concerned. None of us were in their marriage so we don't know what took place. But the most important thing now is that they work together to raise that little boy. He is innocent in this and deserves to have both of his parents in his life.
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pyrexseason
she was no good for nas anyway fuck that star track slut
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omar
PAY ATTENTION. THIS IS HOW WHITE MEDIA EXPLOITS & POPULARIZE THE GREAT DIVIDE BETWEEN THE BLACK MAN AND THE BLACK WOMAN. REAL BLACK FOLKS OUT THERE KNOW WHAT I AM SAYIN'.
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