Nas channelled the pain of his mother's death into his music after she lost her three-year battle with cancer and died in his arms in 2002.
Nas, real name Nasir Jones, had a special relationship with his postal worker mom Anne and their bond grew even stronger after his parents separated in 1985, when he was just 12 years old.
During a Behind the Music VH1 TV special, which aired in America on Wednesday (18Apr12), he said, "My mom was real. She was someone who was there to take care of me and my brother and really be there for us and reallybe concerned about us".
He then opened up about his mother's cancer battle, revealing he's gladhe could be with her before she passed away in April, 2002.
He recalled, "When she first told me she had been diagnosed, man I was floored. I was done. I just saw her as the bravest person I had ever meet (sic) in my life... I was like, 'This is not supposed to be happening...
"Why is this happening to her? Not this lady, this is the sweetest lady I've ever met in my life.'"
The rapper was on tour when he heard she was near death and he rushed home to be by her side.
He continued, "I seen (sic) the tear come down her eye and I knew she was waiting for me to get there before she left. It was heavy. It took a lot of thinking on my part 'What happens now?'"
But the I Can hitmaker is convinced his mom is always close to him - even in death "I would look at myself in the mirror... and see her. So I'm like, 'She's still alive, she's right here with me, my brother and her grandkids,' and that gave me a great feeling. This is what happens, this is life - you gotta keep living on".
Nas dedicated his 2002 album God's Son to his late mother.
The record featured a stirring tribute to her, entitled Dance.