“Nas Is Like” has a complex family tree, a set of allusions to allusions to allusions. This is as it should be. Fundamentally, all music is built of reshuffled bits of other music. Hip-hop makes this fact an explicit part of the music’s message.
Nas has a great flow full of powerful imagery, but what makes this track for me is DJ Premier’s production. It’s a complex web of samples and scratches that tie together seamlessly, greater than the sum of their parts. A lot of the samples are from other songs by Nas himself.
3. DJ Premier Speaks on the making of Nas is Like
Dj Premier tells the story of the track, including the serendipitous discovery of the killer orchestral string sample, in The 14 Deadly Secrets by DJ Premier.