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.
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!
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.