Skip to main content

Nas is executive producer on projects including IFC Films’ The Land and Netflix’s The Get Down, for which he wrote all the lyrics in the 13-episodie series.

Simon Hayter/The Globe and Mail

Nas, one of music's most revered lyricists and story tellers, is taking his talents into filmmaking.

The rapper has traded performing onstage to work behind-the-scenes as an executive producer on projects including Netflix's The Get Down and IFC Films' The Land, which opens in New York and Los Angeles on Friday. Nas said he's looking to make a mark in film like he has done in music.

"I'm right on track of what I'm supposed to be doing in my life," the 42-year-old said in an interview this week. "It's been my dream to work in films. I share a love for films as much as I feel it for music. This is my calling."

Story continues below advertisement

The Land, which stars R&B singer Erykah Badu, focuses on four teenagers who have aspirations of becoming professional skateboarders and hopes to escape the streets of Cleveland. But their plans are derailed when they get caught in a drug dispute with a local queenpin.

Nas found and placed songs for the film's 14-song soundtrack, which features Kanye West and Pusha T. It's the first soundtrack released under Nas' indie label, Mass Appeal Records.

"It gave us a little idea of what is cut out for us for future projects," he said. "We got wings behind our back, so we're just flying with it. We're looking to do more in the future."

On The Get Down, Nas wrote all the lyrics including poems and battle raps that will appear in the 13-episode series, co-created by Baz Luhrmann. The show, which premieres Aug. 12, delves into the birth of hip-hop in New York in the 1970s and rap icon Grandmaster Flash is also an associate producer on the project.

Luhrmann said Nas played an integral part in the filmmaking process.

"He completely dedicated himself to getting it done," said Luhrmann, who also directed Moulin Rouge! and The Great Gatsby.

"He wrote rhymes for every act. It's his voice. He is an executive producer, and it's not just a title. He helped me with bringing a lot of creative ideas to the table. He was a go-to guy," Luhrmann continued. "I would call him at 2 a.m. in the morning for his opinion. So, he's been great like that."

Story continues below advertisement

It's not the first time Nas has ventured into film: He had roles in the 1998 movie Belly and Black Nativity in 2013.

But these days, Nas is continuing to learn the different aspects of filmmaking so he can one day create his own movie. He wants to get more involved as a screenwriter and director.

Luhrmann believes Nas has the potential to do just that.

"His raps are very well-written narratives, and filmmaking is storytelling," Luhrmann said. "If Nas would make a film, it would be something to see."

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter