Nas is proud to be an American, but he confesses he didn’t always hold that opinion.
The rapper opened up to Charlie Rose recently about being black in America and his views on his homeland. The two were discussing Nas’ Illmatic album, which is now 20 years old. Plenty has changed since then for the rap star, from becoming a father to his views on what it means to live in America.
ROSE: How else are you different?
NAS: Well, I’ve always been a calm individual, but I’m a lot more calm, and I’ve changed in ways where I was once a rebel to America, and now I like America a lot more. I love America!
ROSE: Why do you like America a lot more? Because it accepted you?
NAS: No! I don’t want to feel accepted.
ROSE: You don’t?
NAS: I want to, I want to earn it. I want to, I want to, I’m like everybody else in this world and I just want to be a part of this whole human family and I don’t need to be accepted by anybody. But it’s better for me because now I can see different. I can see why certain things are the way they are, why the system works a certain way, and it doesn’t seem like a beast that I can’t conquer anymore. It feels like this is my soil, this is where I’m from, this is who I am. A proud American. There was a time when I didn’t feel that way…
Nas added that while he hates to see fellow black Americans suffering, he’s heartened to learn that Dr. Dre sold his company for $3 billion and politicians like Barack Obama can reach the highest office in the land.