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Page 1

 Hot 97 takes away Nas' noose, and the infuriated rapper goes on a rampage at a rival radio station ...

Page 2

 Nas tries to shut down the hip-hop game and dreams of one last dance with his late
mother ...

Page 3

 The king of New York comes clean about his relationships with Kelis, Notorious B.I.G. and Murder Inc. ...

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Nas has ended the speculation about another woman in his life, Kelis. She's featured on the sexy "Hey Nas," and any question about whether or not she's his real-life love interest is put to bed on "Mastermind": "Gave the keys to Kelis/ Whispered in her earlobe, 'Drive home'/ 'Cause she the wife and they the freaks."

Nas said the wild-haired singer understands him better than the average girl because she's in the industry, but he avoided saying exactly how long they've been dating.

"We always been seeing each other since we've been on TV, that's where it started, but then it's like I always wanted to meet her and she always wanted to meet me. I gave up on meeting her and I'm terrible with relationships, so I don't try to have one. We both gave up looking for each other, but we met and we clicked. She's just very interesting. We just do normal sh--. Library, museums, Central Park, plays. Everyday stuff. Movies, we're movie fanatics."

Another relationship addressed on wax is the rhyme rivalry Nas and Notorious B.I.G. had years ago, which Nas details on "Last Real N---a Alive."

"We had a respect for each other because before we were big we would hang out and talk about being big at his crib down on Fulton," he said. "Or we'd do shows together at the Ark in Brooklyn, where he came out first, and then I'd come out. We'd freestyle together at the Country Club, and we talked about where the game was going. We knew we were the dudes to take it where it's supposed to go.

"So when he got on and I started, you know, everybody was like 'It's on, Nas and Big.' So it was a lot of subliminal stuff in there with our lyrics. It was scarier to me then than any battle I've had today, because we were both serious about what we were representing. We'd live and die for it. It always felt to me like one day me and his [battling] would spill over openly in the public."

  Nas and Murder Inc.
"One Mic/Happy" medley
live from 2002 VMAs
(Ill Will/Murder Inc.)
This summer, seemingly the only person who had more to say to the public than Nas was Irv Gotti. The Murder Inc. CEO told anybody who would listen that Nas was joining his roster.

"I kept hearing Irv say, 'Nas is coming to Murder Inc.' I like his enthusiasm, his drive, ... so I called him. I said, 'Yo, what's going on? Let's talk. I keep hearing this sh--.' He flew out to Miami and we got together and talked, and his energy was so great that I said, 'You know, I can do 50 albums with this guy.' His energy is like, 'We can do a whole album tonight,' and we clicked. We started hanging and we did the song together, 'The Pledge' remix. Because I never said I wasn't signed, people just [thought I was] signed."

But ultimately, Nas said, "My vibe musically was so different from the hype that we were making — it was so, so, so different that I didn't wanna mislead people. I had to fall back and just continue working on my album. We started to work on tracks [together,] but I was so in a zone of what I was doing, we never got a chance to finish."

"Nas is a friend of the family [who's] not signed with Murder Inc, but it's all love," Ja Rule said about the affiliation. "It's all contractual stuff. He's still signed with Columbia, but it's all right. Right now we just vibing."

As Nas evolves into a businessman, hoping to ignite his own Ill Will Records, it seems his status as an MC isn't waning any. Judging from the crowd reaction at Webster Hall as he reached into his catalog, going from Illmatic to Stillmatic and finishing with the first single from God's Son, he's every bit as loved now as when he broke ground as a flagrant yet poignant 20-year-old.

"And I like a little sassiness, a lot of class/ Mommy, reach in your bag, pass the fifth," he said a capella, joined by the crowd. "I'm a leader, at last this a don you wit'/ My nines'll spit, n---as lose consciousness."

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Photo: Ill Will/Sony

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 "Made You Look"
God's Son
(Ill Will/Sony)

 "The Last Real Ni**a Alive"
God's Son
(Ill Will/Sony)

God's Son
(Ill Will/Sony)

 "Hey Nas"
God's Son
(Ill Will/Sony)

 Murder Inc. feat. Nas
"The Pledge" remix
Irv Gotti Presents ...
(Murder Inc.)