In order to promote his upcoming project, Nas sat down with COMPLEX Magazine for their June/July issue and talked about failing marriage with Kelis (again), financial problems and advice he wants to share with his son Knight. In the colorful, vibrant spread styled by June Ambrose, Nas shows how “Life Is Good.”
“Daughters” was an emotional record. What made you be so honest?
This is the first time I’m dealing with a teenage daughter, and it blows me away. I don’t know that you’re ever prepared to be a parent. Once you become one, that’s your responsibility. It’s more like me talking to myself, about how I could have been there a lot more. I beat myself up for not being the best I could be. I would ask her: “Am I a cool dad?” or “Am I a good dad? Did I fuck up?” And she would say, “Nah, you’re good.” That’s important to me because I started as a teen. I was around 19 when her mother was pregnant. My daughter means a lot to me. It’s just a record that came from the heart.
What’s the most important thing that you want to teach your son (Knight) about women?
He has to have his own life. My experience could be the wrong thing for his life and what’s ahead of him. A lot of older people are giving the worst advice, based on the problems they had. I’m going to need him to tell me what to do. That’s what I’m looking forward to. If I’m here, we’ll talk. If not, he’s going to figure it out on his own. He’ll take his mother’s words, he’ll take my words, and then there’s the truth. Whatever he feels, he’s got to go with his heart, and be a man in every occasion.
There’s a record about Kelis on Life Is Good that goes into what made you fall in love with her. How hard was that breakup? What was the feeling when she had your son after you were separated?
There was a point where we were trying to hold onto a relationship that was finished. She was pregnant and in the studio while we were recording Distant Relatives, and he would move when the music would come on. That was a great feeling for me, just to have that feeling of family. It ended around the time the record was being done.
There were times when it didn’t bother me, and there were times when it bothered me a lot. There were times when I was thinking, Damn. I had this shit all planned out, and now I’ve failed. That was hard on me, because I don’t like to fail at anything. Accepting that I failed at this relationship—and it was public—messed me up. You ask yourself, How could that person be so cold? And I’m sure she felt the same way about me. It was ugly.
I saw Kelis as Courtney Love—but I also saw her as a mahogany queen. I saw us as a beautiful thing.
How has your relationship with women changed, now that you’re older and you’ve been divorced?
I’m taken aback by the beauty of women. There was a time when I only saw big breasts and thick asses. Now, I see the beauty in the subtleties. Those are even better than the tits and ass. The aesthetics have changed for me.
She might not be the prettiest, but there’s something special about her—
That makes her pretty. No disrespect to women when I say bad bitch, but my definition of a bad bitch is not always the video vixens. A bad bitch can be a younger woman, in her early 20s, but wise beyond her years. It could be a woman in her late 30s, who’s cool as hell, smart, and has great motherly qualities—or has great motivational skills, or is a powerful mover and shaker in her own career.
Like Michelle Obama is sexy.
Michelle Obama is the most beautiful woman on the planet. She cares about people. All first ladies have their jobs to do, but you can feel her sincerity.
Did you ever get to a point where you hated her?
No. I got to a point where I was like, “Did she always hate me?” and “Did she ever love me at all?” I’ve got to admit, I did feel like that. But she did love me.
The backlash is because she loved so hard.
Exactly. They wind up taking it out on you. A lot of divorces are bad because a woman is just being vindictive. She’s not after the money, she just wants you to hurt the way she was hurt.
Could you ever see yourself getting married again?
Not right now. I’m enjoying life and looking at each day like, “This is beautiful.” I’m having a good time. I’m not going to bring anybody in to mess that up. You come around looking like you’re going to mess this good time up, you’re out of here—fast. [Laughs.] I’m not sacrificing my happiness for nobody and their drama. No way.
For more of the interview, be sure to head over to COMPLEX.