NAS - MASTERMIND: Illmatic was a classic. Everyone knows this. Following Illmatic, the quality of Nas’ music slowly started to decline as he chased commercial fame and acceptance. Again, everyone knows this. Nas hit the absolute bottom of the barrel on “Oochie Wally” a posse cut from the QB Finest album that was as bad as anything released in 2000, but was made particularly worse because Nas is so much better than that artistically.

After being called out in scathing fashion by Jay-Z, Nas apparently got a wake-up call and began slowly but surely returning to the type of hardcore, skillful rhyming that earned him such acclaim years earlier.

With this piece I wanted to acknowledge the “rebirth” of Nas and the spiritual elements he’s begun incorporating with his new God’s Son persona. I also wanted to acknowledge his classic work and the song I happened to be listening to when I started working on this piece, “It Ain’t Hard to Tell,” so I placed the lyrics over the primary art.

I like all of the pieces I’ve done, but this one is particularly hot. The colors and textures blended together much better than I expected and give the piece a great look.