ATLANTA (AP) — Nas says life has been really great since his 11th album, the critically acclaimed "Life Is Good," was released last year.

The album was nominated for four Grammy Awards, including best rap album, this year. He was honored with a Harvard University fellowship in his name. And he has a role in an upcoming movie.

"I'm happy with the ride that I'm on," the rapper said in an interview this week. "I'm excited about everything. My music benefits from my excitement right now. Everything that's happening in my life, I feel extremely blessed."

He is being honored with the Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellowship at Harvard's W. E. B. Du Bois Institute. The fellowship will assist students who excel in the arts "in connection with hip-hop."

Nas said he's working on new music, but he's more eager to see himself in the upcoming adaptation of Langston Hughes' "Black Nativity," which stars Forest Whitaker, Mary J. Blige and Jennifer Hudson. The film opens Nov. 27.

He'll celebrate his 40th birthday on Saturday, and he welcomes the jokes.

"It's only been a few jokes here and there, but I need to hear more," he said. "It's all fun."

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Follow Jonathan Landrum Jr. on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MrLandrum31

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