Queensbridge legend Nas is reaching out to an all-star list of producers for his new solo album.
In a UK interview with Tim Westwood, Nas discussed plans to bring together a list acclaimed producers as he did on his classic Illmatic debut. Following the mostly positive critical reception and touring accolades he’s received alongside Damian Marley, the Queens emcee believes his next album will be pivotal in deciding his career direction.
“I’m definitely looking at my solo record is one of the most important records of my life…I feel it’s going to be magic. I feel it in stuff I’m writing down and the direction I think I’m going in,” Nas said. “It doesn’t even matter the producers whether it’s Swizz Beatz, Premier, Alchemist, Dr. Dre, [or] Kanye West. All these guys are guys that I love and guys that I’ve been talking to about getting on the project.”
Nas also disclosed that Kanye West has expressed his desire to executive-produce the entire album.West previously delivered two well-received albums with Common (Be, Finding Forever), and produced two tracks on Nas’ 2006 Hip Hop Is Dead album (“Stay Dreaming” and “Let There Be Light”).
“Actually Kanye hit me up and said he wanted to do the album…and RZA,” Nas revealed. “I heard Kanye’s new album and it’s crazy.I was also inspired by Drake’s shout out to me on his new album, just in mindstate for the whole album. He says my full name ‘Nasir Jones thank you’ [in the liner notes]. Those dudes inspire me to go in there and do what I’m supposed to do at this day and age and my place in the game. I gotta deliver right now.”
At press time, Nas hasn’t determined a tentative release date for the new album.
This is great news you have to take with a grain of salt. This isn’t the first time Nas has had big ambitions for his production. Remember this now collector’s item cover that made everyone believe we’d have a Nas and DJ Premier album coming soon?
Nas is one of the rare emcees that can elevate decent beats with the power and poetic value of his rhymes. As long as he can follow the arrangements, I truly believe Nas doesn’t take much time pondering over which beats to use. And that’s not to say his recent albums have had lackluster production; on Hip Hop Is Dead he worked with a lot of big names, and Untitled’s production outside of a few glaring examples fit the premise. But I think most fans feel with just a little more focus Nas’ can “trim the fat” on his next solo and deliver a near flawless LP.
Kanye has a great talent for delivering cohesive albums where the production almost flows like a story. One of the best examples of that is what West did sonically with Common’s Be. Although I’d still love a DJ Premier album, I believe Kanye would be give Nas a more varied musical landscape that would be accessible to old and new fans alike. The best vision I see from this news would be Kanye executive producing with 3 contributing tracks from Premier, RZA, and Alchemist. Following Dr. Dre’s “Under Pressure” and his last work for Nas (2006’s “Hustlers”), it’s probably best to leave him off.
Time will tell if Nas is serious about this. If he is, his next album will truly have the magic he’s hoping for.