2. “N.Y. State of Mind” references Scarface.
“I'm like Scarface sniffin’ cocaine/Holding an M-16, see with the pen I'm extreme”
Blast off into song two and already Nas is diving deep into tales of drugs and gunfights. The above line is, of course, a reference to the most beloved film in hip-hop: Scarface. The tale of a man who raises himself out of the mud to become a rich and powerful leader is a story many rappers enjoy hearing.
Nas is recounting the climax of Scarface with this line. He positively compares his storytelling ability to Scarface with a nose full of cocaine – both are extremely wild and dangerous.