After giving us the best album of the 90’s with “Illmatic” Nas’s career was derailed by a series of luke warm follow up efforts. Then, just when we were about to write Nas off, Jay-Z picked a fight with him and the rest is history. Nas responded with “Ether” the lead single from “Stllmatic” that blistered Jay with sharp-tongued jabs to his ego and instantly returned Nas to the forefront of rap royalty. While “Ether” was a boomshot, “One Mic” was a masterstroke. Regarded as one of the greatest lyrical performances in rap history, it cemented Nas’s legend, certifying him as hip hop’s poet laureate and a first ballot hall of famer. The great producers dominated hip hop in the 2000s. It’s mostly their work that will fill the charts of the decade’s “Best Of” lists. But with Nas it’s always been about world-class lyricism and never was that more evident than on “Stillmatic”.