Could use a gun son, but fuck bein the wanted man
But if I hit rock bottom then I'mma be the Son of Sam
While Nas prefers not to go around committing armed robbery, he can imagine himself snapping and going around killing people just like the serial killer, Son of Sam
This absolutely masterful rhyme is worth parsing out. Nas here packs in two internal rhymes in parallel clauses: gun/son/wan- and then rock/bot-/I’mma, so there’s two different internal rhymes back-to-back and fitting completely with each other, and each ending with a common line: man/Sam.
That’s without even considering the meaning of the words: Nas is saying that even though he doesn’t want to commit crimes, if he gets pushed too far he’ll start killing people like the famous Son of Sam serial killer. AND, by the way, by alluding to the Son of Sam (who operated in New York in the 1970s), he’s referencing his own childhood in 1970s NY and thereby reinforcing the album’s central theme of reminiscence of Taxi Driver-era NY and peaceful childhood.
This is all in just TWO LINES. This shit is why Nas is probably the GOAT and why Illmatic is always at the top of “Best Rap Albums Ever” lists
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