Nas has earned a reputation for being a man of few words during interviews, so it comes as a bit of a surprise that the Queens rapper agreed to film a segment of VH1’s “Behind the Music.” Just as we suspected, though, Nas was very reluctant to open up for the cameras, as he told MTV News.
“It was tough. I didn’t want to do ’Behind the Music,’ ” Nas admits, reflecting on his decision to go through with the taping. “I didn’t. But at some point, if you don’t tell your story, somebody else will. So I gave them a little peek inside. It can’t hurt, just a little peek inside.”
In a preview clip from the episode, Nas talks about growing up in the Queensbridge Housing Projects and watching his parents separate at a young age, in addition to talking about his storied hip-hop career. “You can never forget where you come from, no matter how far you go,” he says. “In the neighborhood where I’m from, people are killed for nothing. You can’t just ignore it. That’s the beauty of rap music, because we’re going to give you the side that no one wants to talk about.”
Before sitting down for the interview, Nas said he didn’t know what he would reveal. “I didn’t know what I would give them. I just sat down and talked,” he said. “I knew that I just needed to say enough. And as I’m talking, I realize, ’Damn, there’s a lot of life here.’ I’m just giving it to them how I feel, but I’m realizing how much more there is.”
For someone known to be tight-lipped, Nas is opening up quite a bit this year. Whatever tales are left untold in his “Behind the Music” episode, fans will find in his upcoming autobiography, which is being penned with help from writer Touré. “The crazy thing is, I just did a book deal to write about my life,” Nas said. “At first I thought, ’This is cool,’ but then I was going back and forth on it and finally said, ’Let me just do it, man, it’s just life.’ ”
“I’ve been talking to Touré, and he’s been putting the book together,” he added. “I thought it would take me two years [to finish], but just with the stuff I gave him, it’s enough. It’s so much already. I can’t give you everything.”
Nas’ “Behind the Music” debuts Wednesday, April 18 at 9 p.m. ET on VH1.