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Nas: "Life Is Good" Is Me Venting

Island Def JamNas is up for four Grammys this Sunday thanks to his latest album Life Is Good.  The rapper says fans connected with his latest record because on it he opened up about his personal struggles and returned to an old school but mostly forgotten sound.

"It's like a journey that they're walking with me," Nas tells ABC News Radio about the material on Life Is Good.  "It's a lot of insight on my life in it and it's not a lot of records out there like that."

Nas also credits the album's throwback style with attracting fans' attention.  "I catered to a sound that's not really popular in today's music, which is like 90s-style hip hop," he says.  "And it was a...coming back to grace moment for myself."

There are a number of distinctly personal songs on the disc, including "Daughters," in which Nas openly wrestles with how to raise his 17-year-old daughter Destiny; and the tell-all track "Bye Baby," about his failed marriage with Kelis. 

Was Kelis upset that Nas flows about their divorce, even saying, "you blew a good thing?"  The rapper says not really.

"She was cool because we had, at that point, became cool, right while the record was dropping," he tells ABC News Radio. "And because I was explaining to her -- what the album was going to look like and feel like --...she was prepared."

"I don't mean anybody any harm," he continues, "[I'm] just venting.  It is what it is."

Life Is Good also features Nas' posthumous collaboration with Amy Winehouse, "Cherry Wine."  Nas says Amy's longtime producer, Salaam Remi, sent him a number of Amy's vocal tracks to choose from for the record.  But when he picked the vocals that he would use eventually to create "Cherry Wine,"  he had no idea that Amy had recorded those verses specifically for him.  He tells ABC News Radio that Amy's manager became emotional revealing that fact later.

"He was crying when he told me," Nas recalled.  "It was hard for him to get it out.  He's a big guy and he loved her obviously. ...It's a great honor for me."

The Grammys air this Sunday on CBS at 8 PM ET.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio