Posts Tagged ‘Stillmatic’

Redman

Redman is going through a second childhood while searching for a new lighter in this refreshing video made for BreadOverBread.com. Hearing Red over this, it’s a surprise more emcees haven’t taken a stab at rocking over this classic Premier beat off Nas’ Stillmatic. In case you’re wondering where the sample comes from, check it out after the Red video.

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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.

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.

 

The Source magazine has announced they will award their first perfect 5 mic rating since 2005.

The publication made the statement yesterday on their official website, disclosing that perfect rating is between seven recent albums: Drake’s Thank Me Later, Big Boi’s Sir Lucious Left Foot, The Roots’ How I Got Over, Eminem’s Recovery, Bun B’s Trill OG, Rick Ross’ Teflon Don and Fat Joe’s The Darkside Vol. 1. A poll is available on the site for readers to guess the magazine’s choice.

The last album to receive 5 mics was Lil Kim’s Naked Truth,and she remains the only female rapper to date to receive the accolade. The selection was highly controversial, as allegations spread that then Source co-owner and founder Dave Mays was involved in an intimate relationship with Kim’s manager.

The issue is set to hit newsstands this week.

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Showing my age again, but I remember sitting in the lunch room and discussing the merits of Aquemini’s 5 mic rating from 1998 with my fellow high school Hip-Hop fans. And a few years before that, I checked for Nas’ Illmatic on the strength of the Source’s glowing praise and 5 mic rating in 1994.

For many in the early and mid 90′s, the Source’s word was truly make or break when it came to purchasing an album. Not that I agreed with every rating, but for the most part their ratings were very concise, well-explained pieces. But the cracks started to show by the time I hit college in the early 2000s. The first eyebrow raiser for me was when Benzino’s Made Men got 4.5 mics for Classic Limited Edition. I listened to that album and knew the only way it could be rated that high was due to some serious politics, or as we find out Benzino’s financial stake on the company.

The brand still had respect though. No one really argued the 5 mic ratings for the Blueprint, Stillmatic or The Fix since all were great albums. But then came the totally unwarranted Benzino cover issue, and finally the nail in the coffin with the Eminem beef. Who remembers the Ja Rule ’03 cover issue that came with a pullout Benzino poster holding Eminem’s decapitated head? Even now with Benzino long gone, the brand is irreparably damaged.

It doesn’t help either that Lil Kim’s Naked Truth has a 5 mic rating. That should be retracted immediately, as it was a solid album and nothing more. All the albums listed this time around range from solid (Thank Me Later, The Darkside Vol. 1) to very good (Sir Lucious Leftfoot, How I Got Over). Personally I don’t have a classic amongst any of them, but the closet one I could see getting it would be the Roots’ LP. That album lyrically and production wise is very strong and distinctive.

We’ll see shortly who the Source goes with.