I switched my motto:
Instead of sayin’ ‘Fuck tomorrow,’
That buck that bought a bottle
Coulda struck the Lotto.

Nas, “Life’s a Bitch,” Illmatic, 1994. Plenty more Nas quotes >

A thug changes, and love changes,
And best friends become strangers.

Nas, “The Message,” It Was Written, 1996

All I need is one life, one try, one breath, I’m one man.
What I stand for speaks for itself…they don’t understand.

Nas, “One Mic,” Stillmatic, 2001. More from Nas.

I never sleep, ‘cause sleep is the cousin of death.

Nas, “N.Y. State of Mind,” Illmatic, 1994

You lose money chasing women;
Never lose women chasing money.

Nas, “Ghetto Rich (Remix),” Rich Boy’s self-titled album, 2007

What you base your happiness around?
Material, women, and large paper?
That means you inferior, not major.

Nas, “No Idea’s Original,” The Lost Tapes, 2002

Everything will eventually come to an end,
So try to savor the moment, cause time flies, don’t it?
The beauty of life, you gotta make it last for the better,
Cause nothin’ lasts forever.

Nas, “Nothing Lasts Forever,” The Lost Tapes, 2002

I know you think my life is good ‘cause my diamond piece,
But my life been good since I started finding peace.

Nas, “Loco-Motive,” Life Is Good, 2012

Inhale deep like the words of my breath,
I never sleep, cause sleep is the cousin of death.

Nas, “New York State of Mind,” Illmatic, 1994

…Shorty’s laugh was cold-blooded as he spoke so foul,
Only twelve tryin to tell me that he liked my style.
Then I rose, wiping the blunt’s ash from my clothes,
Then froze, only to blow the herb smoke through my nose.

Nas, “One Love,” Illmatic, 1994

Props is a true thug’s wife.

Nas, “Verbal Intercourse,” from Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, 1995

It’s like a cycle: niggas come home, some’ll go in,
Do a bullet, come back, do the same shit again.
From the womb to the tomb, presume the unpredictable,
Guns salute life, rapidly, that’s the ritual.

Nas, “Verbal Intercourse,” from Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, 1995

Dear Mama, don’t cry, your baby boy’s doin’ good,
Tell the homies I’m in heaven, and they ain’t got hoods.
Seen a show with Marvin Gaye last night, it had me shook,
Drippin’ peppermint Schnapps, with Jackie Wilson, and Sam Cooke…

2Pac, “Thugz Mansion,” Better Dayz, 2002

We were beginners in the hood as 5 Percenters,
But somethin’ must’ve got in us, cause all of us turned to sinners.

AZ, “Life’s a Bitch,” from Nas’ Illmatic, 1994

Some seek fame cause they need validation,
Some say hating is confused admiration.

Nas, “Stay,” Life is Good, 2012 

Hood forever, I just act like I’m civilized.
Really what’s in my mind is organizing a billion Black motherfuckers
To take over JP Morgan, Goldman and Sachs
And teach the world facts and give Saudi they oil back.

Nas, “No Introduction,” Life is Good, 2012

It’s a thin line between paper and hate,
Friends and snakes, nine millis and thirty-eights,
Hell or the pearly gates…I was destined to come,
Predicted, blame God, He blew breath in my lungs.

Nas, “Hate Me Now,” I Am…, 1999

I don’t respect killers, I respect O.G. knowledge,
Codes of the streets got new rules, but no guidance.
Lessons, detrimental to a young disciple;
Folks, take care of your brothers, niggas do as I do.
Keep your enemies close, where they can see you.
It’s not your enemy who get you, it’s always your own people.

Nas, “In Between Us,” from Scarface’s The Fix, 2002

The Chinamen built the railroad, the Indians saved the Pilgrim,
And in return, the Pilgrim killed ‘em.
They call it it Thanksgiving, I call your holiday ‘hell-day.’

Nas, “What Goes Around,” Stillmatic, 2001

I’m a firm believer that we all meet up in eternity,
Just hope the Big Man show me some courtesy

Nas, “Like Smoke,” from Amy Winehouse’s Lioness, 2011

Life’s a bitch, but God forbid the bitch divorce me…

Nas, “Affirmative Action,” It Was Written, 1996

Keepin’ this effervescent street ghetto essence inside us
Cause it provides us with the proper insight to guide us

AZ, “Life’s a Bitch,” from Nas’ Illmatic, 1994

Dwellin’ in the Rotten Apple, you get tackled.
Or caught by the devil’s lasso…shit is a hassle.

Nas, “The World Is Yours,” Illmatic, 1994

I’m a addict for sneakers, twenties of buddah and bitches with beepers.

Nas, “N.Y. State of Mind,” Illmatic, 1994

Visualizin’ the realism of life and actuality,
Fuck who’s the baddest, a person’s status depends on salary.

AZ, “Life’s a Bitch,” from Nas’ Illmatic, 1994

I never see the whips niggas be claimin’ they drivin,
I guess ‘entertainment’ means blatantly lyin’.

Nas, “Nasty,” Life is Good, 2011

On the reals, all these crab niggaz know the deal,
When we start the revolution, all they’ll probably do is squeal.

Nas, “One Love,” Illmatic, 1994

I pledge allegiance to the fair and balanced truth.
Not the biased truth,
Not the liest truth,
But the highest truth.

Nas, “Sly Fox,” Untitled, 2008

Mindless violence, well let me try to paint it.
Here’s the 5 steps in hopes to explain it:

1, It’s me and my Nation against the World
2, Then me and my Clan against the Nation
3, Then me and my Fam against the Clan
4, Then me and my Brother, we no hesitation
Go against the Fam until they cave in
5, Now who’s left in this deadly equation?

That’s right, it’s me against my Brother
Then we point a Kalashnikov
And kill one another.

K’naan, “Tribal Wars,” from Nas and Damian Marley’s Distant Relatives, 2010

Street’s disciple, my raps are trifle.
I shoot slugs from my brain just like a rifle.

Nas, “Live at the Barbeque,” from Main Source’s Breaking Atoms, 1991

Nas • “I Do It for Hip-Hop” • 2008

They say I’m so low key, I’m socially awkward,
Only those that really know me are the ones that I talk with.
They smile in the light, hate in the dark,
You call it beef, to me it’s just a fuckin’ walk in the park.

– Nas, “I Do It for Hip-Hop,” from Ludacris’ Theater of the Mind, 2008

The greatest lesson ever learned has yet to be taught.

Nas, “One Plus One,” from Large Professor’s The LP, 1996. More from Nasir…

‘Cause in my physical I can express through song,
Delete stress like Motrin, then extend strong.
I drink Moet with Medusa, give her shotguns in hell
From the spliff that I lift and inhale…it ain’t hard to tell.

Nas, “It Ain’t Hard to Tell,” Illmatic, 1993. More from Nas…

Deep like The Shining, sparkle like a diamond,
Sneak a Uzi on the Island in my army jacket lining.
Hit the Earth like a comet…invasion,
Nas is like the Afrocentric Asian: half-man, half-amazing.

Nas, “It Ain’t Hard to Tell,” Illmatic, 1993. More from Nas…

It ain’t hard to tell, I excel then prevail,
The mic is contacted, I attract clientele.
My mic check is life or death, breathing a sniper’s breath,
I exhale the yellow smoke of buddha through righteous steps.

Nas, “It Ain’t Hard to Tell,” Illmatic, 1993. More from Nas…

They call it Thanksgiving, I call your holiday ‘Hell Day’
Cause I’m from poverty, neglected by the wealthy.

Nas, “What Goes Around,” Stillmatic, 2001. More from Nas…

Life’s a bitch and then you die.
That’s why we get high,
Cause you never know when you’re gonna go.

AZ, “Life’s a Bitch,” Illmatic, 1994. More from AZ…

The way mothers feel for they sons, how fathers feel for they daughters;
When he date, he straight, chip off his own papa.
When she date, we wait behind the door with the sawed off,
Cause we think no one is good enough for our daughters.

Nas, “Daughters,” Life is Good, 2012. More from Nas…

Fear is weakness, learn from what experience teaches.
Beware of leeches, the vampires, my secrets…
Never follow, cause most niggas is straight up cowards.
Take care of my body’s the temple, my mind is the power.

Nas, “Self Conscience,” from Nas & Ill Will Records Presents QB’s Finest, 2000. More from Nas >