Posts Tagged ‘Lost Tapes 2’

“It’s not safe to say it’s going to be on Def Jam…”

 

Nas’s issues with label Def Jam may turn into a huge plus for his fans, as the Queensbridge legend is now exploring the option of releasing his delayed Lost Tapes 2 as part of a double album.

Nas originally planned to drop Lost Tapes 2 on December 14. That date fell through after an acrimonious impasse surfaced with Def Jam over the LP not counting against Nas’s multi-million dollar contract, which obligates the celebrated lyricist to complete two more solo albums.

Despite the legal wrangling, Nas advised MTV News that he is exploring releasing his next solo project, with Lost Tapes 2 as a bonus disc, outside of Def Jam.

“It’s not safe to say it’s going to be on Def Jam,” Nas explained. “You know, news at 11. We’ll be coming with that information soon.”

Over the past few months, Nas has leaked several previously unreleased songs, including “Power, Paper & Pussy,” and “Snitch Alibi.” This latest offering is the Eric Hudson-produced “Who Are You.”

At press time, Nas has not publicly named any alternate label homes. If released, the double album will be his second, following 2004′s platinum Street’s Disciple.

NAS “WHO ARE YOU”

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I’m mystified on how Nas thinks he’ll be able to drop this potential project outside of Def Jam. I can see them maybe letting Lost Tapes 2 slide, but definitely not if it’s combined with a Nas solo.

Unfortunately for Nas, steep drops in sales has caused labels to become resistant to B-Side projects like this. They were popular in the 90s, and even R&B stars like Mary J. Blige and SWV got similar releases out there. But even from the early 2000s, when the first Lost Tapes dropped, the business is drastically different. There’s no guarantee they could turn a profit from this edition, hence their stance of not letting it count against his album deal if they released it.

Nonetheless, Nas has an excellent idea of combining Lost Tapes 2 with his next solo. It’ll maximize the audience reception by giving older fans extra incentive to purchase, knowing for sure they’ll be getting some vintage Nasir. Plus, being that one disc is just a collection of old songs, Def Jam wouldn’t have any additional expenses with producers and having to create new songs.

Any new Nas project is welcome by any self-respecting Hip-Hop fan. As 9th Wonder told me a few months back, Nas is one of the few artists still keeping lyricism alive in the mainstream for those who grew up in the 90s. Count me as one who’s hoping Def Jam sees the potential.

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Nas “Snitch Alibi” (Produced by Boola)

Posted: December 2, 2010 by Ismael AbduSalaam in Music News
Tags: , , , ,

With Lost Tapes 2 currently in Def Jam purgatory, it looks like Nas might be leaking some tracks to keep the interest up going into 2011. This song is just wait the title implies. For longtime Nas fans, this’ll remind you of a lot of tracks that dropped circa I Am era that didn’t make it. While “Last Real Nigga Alive, Part 2″ was mostly straight spitting, here Nas pulls back lyrically and relies more on melody. Adding to that is the singing the sprinkles the initial chorus and the refrains. I thought for a second he was going to burst out into straight singing like he did on “Day Dreaming, Stay Scheming.” Thank God he didn’t. Decent track, overall. This won’t cause Def Jam to scramble for a release date, or set the world on fire in anticipation. But new Nas is always welcome, and hopefully this can be the start of more consistent Nasir drops.

NAS “SNITCH ALIBI”

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Everyone from Kanye West and RZA to Q-Tip and Bangladesh have been associated with Nas’ upcoming tenth studio album. One name producer who fans have clamored Nas to work with is 9th Wonder, who’s quietly contributed beats to the legendary Queensbridge lyricist.

Fan demand for a 9th Wonder-Nas collaboration goes back eight years, when the North Carolina producer remixed Nas’ 2002 platinum album God’s Son into God’s Stepson. At the time, many cited 9th’s soul-sample based production as a better fit for Nas’ vocals than the producers he originally used (Salaam Remi, Ron Brownz, Eminem, Alchemist).

When pondering Nas’ beat selections, 9th sees Nas as been making a concerted effort to completely separate himself from his 1994 masterpiece, Illmatic. While cited by many as arguably the greatest Hip-Hop of album of all time, the lyrical classic has also been used as the measuring stick by which all of Nas’ music is judged. Nas derisively references that critical slant on the intro of Stillmatic, another celebrated album which was named dualy to acknowledge and creatively move past his debut.

“I crawled up out of that grave, wiping the dirt, cleaning my shirt
They thought I’d make another Illmatic
But it’s always forward I’m moving
Never backwards stupid here’s another classic”

It’s a high standard of excellence that fans don’t demand from many emcees. According to 9th Wonder, who turned 35 in January, Nas is one of a handful of artists that still represent that late 20s to mid 30s demographic, a generation whose view of Hip-Hop was shaped by emcees like Tupac, Outkast, Redman, Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z, and the Notorious B.I.G. in the mid 90s.

“I just had that conversation in the car. I’ve been trying to figure that out. Nas is an anomaly, man,” 9th Wonder told Beats, Boxing and Mayhem. “He wants to get so far away from Illmatic, and everybody wants him to go back. I think he thinks we’re talking about his subject matter. We’re mostly talking about the sound. Nas is one of the few artists from our generation that’s keeping our generation alive from a mainstream perspective. For a mainstream standpoint it’s Nas and Jay-Z, there’s not too many others like them left.”

During a meeting earlier this year, Nas chose several of 9th’s beats. Now, the ball is in Nas’ court as to whether the selected tracks will end up on his new album.

“I spoke with him. I was actually in Atlanta when I played beats for him earlier this year,” 9th explained. “He picked some, [but] it’s a waiting game, brah. Unless they come down to my studio and specifically request me, it’s always a waiting game. People ask me ‘when are you going to work with so and so?’ It’s not when I want to work with this person, it’s when they want to work with me. So Nas is a tough cookie to get to.”

Nas has tentatively targeted December as the release date for Lost Tapes 2. His currently untitled 10th studio album is scheduled for 2011.

The proposed December 14 release date for Nas’ Lost Tapes 2 may be in jeopardy. Earlier today, a vitriolic Nas email addressed to L.A. Reid and other Def Jam executives was disseminated across the Internet. There are several issues that have raised Nas’ ire: the album not counting against his four album deal with Def Jam, the release only have a $200k budget, and the project possibly not making it out in December. Read the unedited email below.

From: Nas
To: LA Reid, Steve Bartels, Steve Gawley, Michael Seltzer, Joseph Borrino, Chris Hicks
Subject: PUT MY SHIT OUT!

Peace to all,

With all do respect to you all, Nas is NOBODY’s slave. This is not the 1800′s, respect me and I will respect you.

I won’t even tap dance around in an email, I will get right into it. People connect to the Artist @ the end of the day, they don’t connect with the executives. Honestly, nobody even cares what label puts out a great record, they care about who recorded it. Yet time and time again its the executives who always stand in the way of a creative artist’s dream and aspirations. You don’t help draw the truth from my deepest and most inner soul, you don’t even do a great job @ selling it. The #1 problem with DEF JAM is pretty simple and obvious, the executives think they are the stars. You aren’t…. not even close. As a matter of fact, you wish you were, but it didn’t work out so you took a desk job. To the consumer, I COME FIRST. Stop trying to deprive them! I have a fan base that dies for my music and a RAP label that doesn’t understand RAP. Pretty fucked up situation.

This isn’t the 90′s though. Beefing with record labels is so 15 years ago. @ this point I just need you all to be very clear where I stand and how I feel about “my label.” I could go on twitter or hot 97 tomorrow and get 100,000 protesters @ your building but I choose to walk my own path my own way because since day one I have been my own man. I did business with Tommy Mottola and Donnie Einer, two of the most psycho dudes this business ever created. I worked well with them for one major reason……. they believed in me. The didn’t give a fuck about what any radio station or magazine said….those dudes had me.

Lost Tapes is a movement and a very important set up piece for my career as it stands. I started this over 5 years ago @ Columbia and nobody knew what it was or what it did but the label put it out as an LP and the fans went crazy for it and I single handedly built a new brand of rap albums. It’s smart and after 5 years it’s still a head of the game. This feels great and you not feeling what I’m feeling is disturbing. Don’t get in the way of my creativity. We are aligned with the stars here, this is a movement. There is a thing called KARMA that comes to haunt you when you tamper with the aligning stars. WE ARE GIVING THE PEOPLE EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT. Stop throwing dog shit on a MAGICAL moment.

You don’t get another Nas recording that doesn’t count against my deal….PERIOD! Keep your bullshit $200,000.00 fund. Open the REAL budget. This is a New York pioneers ALBUM, there ain’t many of us. I am ready to drop in the 4th quarter. You don’t even have shit coming out! Stop being your own worst enemy. Let’s get money!

-N.Jones

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There is some speculation that this is old, but I really doubt an email from 2007 or 2008 would all of a sudden just surface. If it is real, I would finger Nas as the one who leaked it, since I can’t see any of the executives listed on that email wanting something like this out in the public.

This isn’t the first time Nas has had issues with Def Jam. Although it never spilled out in the public, you know there were some hard feeling on Nas’ part after he was forced to change the title of his album Nigger to Untitled. He touches on it briefly on the “Hero” single. At that time, Nas ended up dropping controversial title after Walmart stated they would refuse to carry the album.

It’s true what Nas says, there aren’t any big Def Jam releases coming out in the fourth quarter. The lane would be wide open, and his fans would love another Lost Tapes. But Def Jam is a business, and the art will always be a distant second with them. Sure, artists like Rick Ross didn’t even go gold with their last release. But what Ricky Rozay did achieve were smash singles that were played all over the radio, which allowed the label to still get a return on their investment. The likelihood of that happening with a single from Lost Tapes 2 is very low, so Def Jam is looking at this as potential loss they need to avoid.

This isn’t something just affecting Nas or even a Def Jam problem. Young Jeezy, who like Nas has had every one of his solo albums either achieve platinum or gold status, has had his album delayed for over a year because he’s failed to have a big single latch onto the radio. Lupe Fiasco’s treading water over at Atlantic Records because they deem his Lasers album unmarketable.

Some people are using this as an excuse to say Nas should’ve went independent back in 2006. I disagree. He was able to broker a multi-million dollar deal, and the way the industry was going I’m sure Nas knew that was probably the last time he’d be able to secure such a lucrative label agreement. I believe Jay-Z, who was Def Jam president at the time and one who recognized Nas’ lyrical prowess, was instrumental in making sure the bank was opened up to his former rival.

But Jay-Z is no longer there. So Nas has to now play the game. This will get him some favorable publicity, but getting an actual release is going to take some compromise. Much as I hate to say it, it looks like Nas better consider taking up Waka Flocka Flame on that collaboration offer. Or better yet, take up Kanye West’s offer to executive produce his next solo album. We know ‘Ye will drop whenever he wants, and having that type of attention would probably make Def Jam real comfortable letting Lost Tapes 2 drop, since they’d have dream collaboration coming right behind it.

Nas has some work ahead of him. I’m sure they’ll figure it out…but I want my Lost Tapes 2 in December.

 

Since his 1994 masterpiece Illmatic, Nas has amassed one of the largest catalogues of unreleased material of any elite emcee. Those who are anxious to hear more of those vaulted works will soon have the chance, as Nas has verified plans to release Lost Tapes Volume Two.

Nas made a short announcement today via Twitter, just one day after celebrating his 37th birthday.

The original installment was a low-key complication project sandwiched between Stillmatic and God’s Son. The material itself ranged from Nas’ canceled I Am double album to his Stillmatic sessions. Even without much advertisement or creative input from Nas himself (Nasir left it to A&R Len Nicholson to pick the songs), the collection still landed in Billboard’s Top 10. With multiple production credits from L.E.S. and Alchemist, fans and critics hailed the offering as vintage Nas for its poetic mix of introspection (“Doo Rags,” “Purple”), street tales (“Blaze a 50″) and social commentary (“Black Zombies”).

At press time, Nas has not revealed how closely he will be involved in the creative direction of this sequel. Nas is also working on his 10th solo album, which both Kanye West and the RZA have expressed interest in executive-producing. 

*UPDATE*

According to Shaheem Reid of MTV News, Lost Tapes Volume Two has a release date of December 11.

 

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This is wonderful news for Nas fans. The first Lost Tapes was great and contrasted well to the production styles and lyrical approaches he took on Stillmatic and God’s Son. The question for this one will be which era will they pull from for the material?

Personally, I don’t think they can go wrong no matter where they go. For example, from Street’s Disciple era Nas you have joints that amazingly didn’t make the album like the AZ-assisted “Serious,” and the original, Billy Joel “Stilletto” sampling “Disciple.” From the Hip-Hop Is Dead era, “Where Y’all At” comes to mind. I can’t recall offhand what period “Talk of New York” is from, but that was heat, too. Basically, from any period Nas appears to have made and promptly discarded street joints that remind listeners how he got the nickname Nasty Nas.

In fact, I think Nas would do well to drop this before his new album. Add a new track (how about the “Empire State of Mind Remix” that was supposed to happen with Jay-Z?) and it builds nice anticipation for the next true Nas solo.

With this latest development and listening to the “Power, Paper and Pussy” freestyle, it’s safe to say Escobar season has returned.