Nas, for the most part, stayed true to himself. Sure, there was the whole Nastradamus fiasco, but everyone's allowed a misstep. Instead of borrowing flows, he refined the one he came in with. His flow is held in such high regard that newer rappers bragged about approximating it. Remember the opening to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy? There's a new NYC rapper who, though nice with the pen, is getting massive shine because people thought he was Nas. And at a time when older rappers are trying to figure out a way to gracefully age while staying hip to the new shit, Nas, as displayed on Life Is Good, is comfortable doing what feels comfortable to him. There's no Drake hook. No Hit-Boy beat. No European fashion on the cover. Just Nas. In 2014, that sounds like a win.
For more evidence of why Nas trumps Jay Z, watch the video for