Nas brought Jay Z out on stage at Coachella last weekend, but 10 years ago both men were engaged in one of hip-hop's most famous rap battles.
"It was something that had to be at the time, but great things came out of it," Nas told HuffPost Live host Marc Lamont Hill in an interview on Tuesday. "Hip-hop changed after it. It became all battle. It became what still goes on today. Battling didn't start with me. The battle thing became really strong -- New York, Philly -- where visually it was everywhere. In the Northeast, there was no songs coming. There were battles. It was a rebirth of hip-hop in a way."
Nas is making the press rounds for "Time Is Illmatic," the new documentary about his album, "Illmatic." The film is set to open this year's Tribeca Film Festival, where Nas will also perform the 20-year-old album in chronological order.
"I knew that it would be an important album at the time, but maybe [it would last] five years from there. Not this far," Nas said.
Watch Nas discuss Jay Z above, and "Illmatic" below. The full interview can be found here.
The 2014 Tribeca Film Festival runs from April 16 through April 27.