It seemed like an odd pairing — and that was probably the point — but the duo of Kevin Durant and Nas helped Bill Simmons deliver the best episode of his series Any Given Wednesday thus far on Wednesday night on HBO. It was the series 11th episode, and while ratings continue to dip, KD and Nas along with Vince Staples in the opening segment gave this installment a decidedly Hip-Hop feel and entertained throughout thanks to Vince’s humor, Durant being rankled throughout and Nas’ zen-like calm.
Simmons offered an interesting line of questioning to Nas and Durant in their segment, including playing them off one another and getting the 43-year-old MC to offer the newest Golden State Warrior some advice about all the scrutiny being lobbed his way (“Do what you gotta do”). Eventually Simmons asked Nas about his 2006 album Hip Hop Is Dead, and asked if he feels the genere is better or worse 10 years later. The rapper was firm, saying it’s better “because it gave birth to Kendrick, J. Cole, Drake and a few other great, great artists.”
Nas went on to say that he knows he has influence on the trio of K. Dot, Cole and Drizzy, and also revealed “They inspire me.” From there he got specific, mentioning a few bits of homage all three paid to him throughout their careers. He recalled Drake putting “to Nasir Jones for inspiring my whole mindset on this record” in the liner notes of his debut album Thank Me Later. He noted that Cole released “an interesting song” about him, 2013’s “Let Nas Down.”
Finally, the living legend acknowledged Kendrick’s shoutout when his album To Pimp a Butterfly nabbed the Grammy for Best Rap Album in 2016, where he said “This for Hip-Hop… This for Illmatic, this for Nas. We will live forever.” After looking back at all of their tributes to him, Nas reiterated “They inspire me.”
Throughout the 20-minute interview the God Son spoke on a number of topics, including what he’d have told Tupac and Biggie in 1995 to squash their beef, his mindset during the “Hate Me Now” era, the best NBA rapper ever, his beef with Jay Z, of course, and more. Check out the entire episode of Bill Simmons’ Any Given Wednesday featuring Vince Staples, Nas and Kevin Durant on HBOGO here.