* 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.
** On another note, one can also say that ''God's Son'', despite the catchiness of some of its tunes, isn't as emotionally or intellectually nuanced as most of his other albums, including ''Hip Hop Is Dead''.
* 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.