On Nas' classic 2001 battle track "Ether," the Queens, New York, rap great issues a challenge. Of course there's the one he threw to then-rival Jay-Z, but that's old news. In the song's first verse, God's Son declares that he's the "truest" and then dares rap fans: "Name a rapper that I ain't influence."
Nasir's artistic reach may be hard to quantify, but every now and then you can see the Don's musical DNA embedded in new rap material. Take Rick Ross, Drake and French Montana's
href="http://rapfix.mtv.com/2012/01/06/drake-jabs-common-on-rich-forever-stay-schemin/">"Stay Schemin,' "
href="http://rapfix.mtv.com/2012/01/06/drake-jabs-common-on-rich-forever-stay-schemin/">"Stay Schemin,' "for example: The song's melodic hook is a direct lift from the unreleased "Stay Schemin' Stay Dreamin'."
"It's a big record," Nas told "RapFix Live" host Sway when he appeared on the show last month.
On the original Nas version, which was recorded in the late 1990s, the veteran MC sings of a jealous foe who's plotting against him. "Lookin'
back at times, when I had on my shines, you were standing there/ I never tried to dis you, you didn't need your pistol, why'd you have to take it there," he starts off in the first verse.
For the updated version, Ross recruits Bronx rapper Montana to lay an interpolation of Nas' old-school hook. "Stay schemin', n---as tryna get at me," French harmonizes in homage.
Nas says that the new record reflects rap's sample culture, and ultimately he is a fan. "That's what hip-hop is — we take pieces of this and that and we make it new. That record's crazy."
How do you think Rick Ross' "Stay Schemin' " holds up against Nas'
original? Tell us in the comments!