Nas Is Writing an Autobiography Not a Memoir

09.13.11 Spencer Lund

Nas is co-writing an autobiography with Rolling Stone scribe, Touré, set to drop in 2012. The book right now is tentatively titled after the last track on his seminal debut album Illmatic: “It Ain’t Hard to Tell.” According to a Touré tweet, it’s not like Jay-Z’s Decoded “…It’ll be a lot of him telling his story & a little song deconstruction.” 

Fans of the emcee can expect a narrative that spans his entire career, not just from when he was “just a hip-hoppin’ shortie-wop, known for rocking microphones and twisting off a 40 top.” Touré explained to the Guardian the difference between a memoir and an autobiography: “A memoir is about a certain period in your life. An autobiography is about your whole life.”

Traditionally, autobiographies are written by the subject. I would have loved a scribbled narrative in Nas’ lyrical style about his career, but Touré does bring some legitimacy to the venture. It’s just weird to call it an autobiography. Semi-autobiographical biography is probably more accurate, and Touré will ghost write.