Nas Reflects on 20 Years of ‘Illmatic,’ Jay Z Feud, & Notorious B.I.G.

To celebrate the release of Illmatic XX, Nas stopped by “HuffPost Live” on Tuesday. The hip-hop icon reminisced on the 20th anniversary of his seminal debut Illmatic and his legacy.

“I knew that it would be an important album at the time,” he said of his groundbreaking debut, “but I just thought at the time and maybe five years from there, but not this far.”

He touched on his relationship with Biggie (“I miss him today because he was a class act”), his rivalry with Tupac (“I had way too much respect for Tupac. He was a god”), and his original idea to put Maxwell instead of Ginuwine on “You Owe Me.”

On Saturday, Nas brought out his former rival Jay Z during his Coachella set. He laughed while looking back on their infamous feud.

“It was something that had to be done at the time, but great things came out of it,” Nas said of their beef. “Hip-hop changed after it and it became all battle. It was like a rebirth of hip-hop.”

He also spoke about fatherhood and his daughter Destiny, who inspired his song “Daughters.” “Sometimes I wish that she grew up in the ‘hood, in the projects so she can have both sides,” he said.

Watch the full 45-minute interview below.