On paper, a man who makes his living in the tech-savvy world of Silicon Valley and a rapper raised in one of the most notorious public housing projects ever being friends wouldn’t make sense. Yet, it appears that venture capitalist Ben Horowitz and Nas have forged a burgeoning friendship although some have doubts about the connection.
Horowitz, a Berkeley, Calif. native, runs the firm Andreessen Horowitz with Marc Andreessen. The pair made a big splash in the tech world after selling their Opsware enterprise company for just over $1 billion to Hewlett-Packard in 2007. Nas, of Queens, N.Y., is essentially Hip-Hop royalty. Still potent after two decades, the Life Is Good artist can certainly say he’s living out the title of his last smash studio album. But what about the curious connection between Nas and Horowitz?
Gawker’s ValleyWag examines the relationship, and questions the sincerity of the friendship after a series of events at this year’s SXSW.
Did you know that Horowitz loves rap, and rappers? Yes? Are you sure? If you don’t, you might have somehow avoided the self-promotional blitz Horowitz had undertaken, the apex, or maybe nadir of which, took place earlier today. It was the most contrived thing I’ll see during a week of contrivances.
Horowitz and Nas, who the night before had shared a performance stage at a warehouse party with Ashton Kutcher (life imitates parody), swear they are dear, dear friends. And yet, they struggled to have a casual Q&A without looking at a printed out list of talking points. Even with the list, silence and weak laughter loomed.
The purpose of the interview, part of this week’s SXSW Interactive marketing bacchanal, was to market the legitimacy of Ben Horowitz’s overly-professed love of hip hop. Just two old buddies, hanging out, not trying to sell anyone anything.
ValleyWag’s Steve Biddle goes on mention the stiffness and awkward moments present during the SXSW chat between the pair, using terms as “stilted” and “dry” to explain what he saw. Essentially, the piece looked to expose Horowitz as a Hip-Hop poser and Nas, who has investments in properties such as Rap Genius, might just be along for the ride.
Do you have an opinion on Nas and Ben Horowitz’s friendship? Let us know in the comments.