I remember the first time I discovered Nas. I was in middle school and saw him on the cover of a Hip Hop magazine for his It Was Written album (released in 1996)…and I found my new crush. Being a kid born and raised in Miami, discovering Nas during those years was huge because we were still big on Miami bass, and New York Hip Hop hadn’t made its commercial appeal in Miami. Years later since my childhood crush days, Nas would still hold the crown as an internationally-acclaimed lyrical genius and a legend in Hip Hop.
Now he’s adding Hennessy ambassador to his resume – one of only a handful to hold that title including musician Erykah Badu, boxer Manny Pacquiao, director Martin Scorsese, and artist Futura. As part of Hennessy’s Wild Rabbit campaign, Nas represents the insatiable spirit of the campaign’s “Never Stop, Never Settle” philosophy.
So of course Noire Miami had to get some chat time in with Nas and talk about why he’ll be in Miami this weekend, his new ambassador role with Hennessy’s Wild Rabbit campaign, and what the fans can expect from him in the near future.
What does your new role as ambassador for Hennessy’s Wild Rabbit campaign mean to you?
It means that I’m growing. It means that I’ve come a long way, and I’m doing it the way I’m supposed to be doing it at the point where I am in my life. Hennessy has always been a point of my celebrations and great memories in my life. So to team up with them came right on time, and it’s a really special thing for me.
What has the experience been like for you to represent the Hennessy brand and to perform at the same time?
It keeps me in tuned and in touch with the people, and that’s a very important thing because somebody like myself can just be happy with not being out, and that’s not good. I love being out. I love touching the people, and makes my life a party. We popped bottles, and I basically had a month-long birthday in September when Hennessy helped me celebrate. We did it really big in New York City and Vegas, and we’re constantly on the move. So it’s a cool thing.
What was it like representing Hennessy in Brazil?
It was perfect! I never performed in Brazil before. So it was a great experience, and we hung out with the people and had a great time. I thought Hennessy was a New York thing many years ago and thought no one else knew about it. I go around the world and everybody is on the same vibe. Everybody relates, and everybody has that thing in common to have a good time.
What would you say is your personal Wild Rabbit these days?
Embarking on new journeys and seeing where it takes me…trying to do what’s never done and trying to learn what I didn’t know before. You can never stop learning. So I plan to take what I’m learning and make something of myself, and hopefully what I’m doing and what I’m learning can help somebody else. So I just want to learn, and I want to give back.
What’s your favorite way to drink Hennessy?
Henney apple juice, Henney diet coke, and Henney on the rocks.
You’re performing in Miami for The GQ Men Book celebration hosted by Dwayne Wade and presented by Hennessy V.S. How would you define your style?
My style is a representation of what’s in my head. If you look a mess then there’s a part in your head that’s messy. So how you look is everything. I like old styles from England and European styles, and I like stuff from boutique stores. My style is basically New York City but it’s also international at the same time.
What would be the evolution of your sound right now?
I live in today’s world, but I love the music I grew up on from EPMD, NWA, and Tribe Called Quest. That’s the base of my musical inspiration. So I come from those influences, and I do what I feel like I should be doing today based on those influences. I run it through a funnel and it comes out how it’s supposed to come out 21st century style. Sometimes I dedicate something to those 80’s and 90’s babies and keep it pushing.
What was your inspiration to becoming a tech investor in investing in the job search app, Proven?
Hip Hop is always about getting money…the real Hip Hop even though it’s vulgar and crazy most of the time, but the theme is still about getting money, and I’ve been rapping about that since my first album in ’94. Entrepreneurs today and Hip Hop are just taking it to different levels and the tech world is the world we all live in no matter who we are. African-Americans and Hispanics are the biggest users of Twitter and Facebook, and the way we use it the whole world pays attention to it. We use it like it’s our job. That means we’re really interested in technology and where it’s going, and we all share that together. That’s something that I felt was important to get into to show kids. Kids should start thinking about being business people and at the same time it’s a business but it’s in the business of giving back. A lot of things that I get into are about giving back.
The app Proven is about helping you get jobs. You can get the app on your phone and go for it. People can see that you can get out there and become a businessman. Learn about technology. Become an engineer. We have tons of rappers…we need more engineers, scientists, and technology people behind the scenes. If they see me investing they’ll hopefully want to get into it at some point.
Can we expect any music from you in the very near future?
Umm…umm…very, very near future hopefully.