* SugarWiki/AwesomeMusic: Let's start with ''Illmatic'' and go from there.
* BaseBreaker: ''Nastradamus,'' to an extent: While widely considered to be his weakest album, fan opinion tends to divided on whether [[SoOkayItsAverage it's a mostly decent album]] [[WereStillRelevantDammit marred by unusually bad singles]], or a [[NeverLiveItDown mostly-terrible album]] with only a few decent tracks.
* CreatorBreakdown: Nas was creatively running on fumes for ''Nastradamus'' due to his mother's worsening illness, and it shows.
* FauxSymbolism: Some of the music video for [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKSJN3WWR3E "Hate Me Now"]] is kinda reminiscent of some [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passion_Play Passion Play]].
* FirstInstallmentWins: ''Illmatic''.
** In a rare double-example of this trope, Nas's first on-record appearance, on the Main Source's "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-zndpG0eS8 Live at the Barbeque]]", is considered by some to be one of his best verses.
* SeasonalRot: ''Nastradamus'' ''does'' have its moments, but it's widely regarded as his weakest album.
** With the help of hindsight, ''Hip Hop Is Dead'' seems significantly less impactful/meaningful than the three albums that followed it--his untitled album for its SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped approach to race relations, ''Distant Relatives'' for its pan-African consciousness, and ''Life Is Good'' for its well-grounded examination of his own life as a man who'd made it through the madness of his youth and became a more grounded, balanced person. Compared to these, ''Hip Hop Is Dead'' is rife with tired cliches, though it does have good moments as well.
* SignatureSong: "N.Y. State of Mind".
* SoBadItsGood: Many consider "Shoot 'Em Up" from ''Nastradamus'' to be this, as it's a generic gangsta story rapped entirely to the tune of ''Christmas carols''.
* SomeAnvilsNeedToBeDropped: Much of his untitled album discusses racism, social inequality, and censorship in a blunt manner.
* ToughActToFollow: Nothing he has made after ''Illmatic'' has been so acclaimed.
* VindicatedByHistory: His second album, ''It Was Written'', which was given flak for not being ''Illmatic 2'', has since grown in status over the years.
** It's been said that ''Illmatic'' is his best album if you're a fan, ''It Was Written'' is what you study if you want to be a rapper.