Nasir “Nas” Jones and Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter are undeniably the cream of the East coast hip-hop crop, with both having released a range of seminal albums over the past three decades. Most notably, the former’s 1994 masterpiece Illmatic and the latter’s Blueprint from 2001.
As worthy contenders for the GOAT title, the pair have engaged in friendly rivalry on more than one occasion over the years, highlighted by their ongoing lyrical battle. Friendly or fierce, this rivalry is being taken to the wire as Nas draws even with Jay-Z for a significant Billboard 200 milestone.
Released on November 11th, Nas’s new album, King’s Disease III, debuted at number ten on the latest Billboard 200 chart with 29,000 first-week units shifted. This incredible feat gives Nas his 16th top ten entry on the Billboard 200 chart as he draws even with New York neighbour Jay-Z for the most top ten albums by a recording rap artist.
Nas scored his first top ten in 1996 with the sophomore effort, It Was Written, which debuted at number one. The LP spent four weeks in the top spot, boosted by the fan frenzy following his classic debut of ‘94. The 49-year-old musician/businessman now boasts six number ones, including The Firm: The Album, I Am…, Hip Hop Is Dead, Untitled, and Life Is Good.
However, Jay-Z currently holds the title for number one albums racked up by a solo act, with a whopping 14 to his name so far. The Beatles still hold the all-time record as a group with 19 number-one albums, while Drake sits in third place with 12.
In the latest update on their friendly lyric battle, Nas ruminated on their current beef status in the King’s Disease III track ‘Thun’, in which he sings: “No beef or rivals, they playing ‘Ether’ on Tidal. Brothers can do anything when they decide to. In a Range Rover, dissecting bars from ‘Takeover.’ Sometimes I text Hova like, ‘N****, this ain’t over,’ laughing.”