Nas has enjoyed critical acclaim this year for his ambitious Distant Relatives collaboration with Damian Marley, and previous social commentary on 2008’s Untitled. But there has been calls from older fans for the Queen’s emcee to return to the combative street lyricism of his early years that earned him the nickname “Nasty Nas.”
And those fans may just get their wish.
Last week a short but lyrically vintage Nas freestyle leaked named “Power, Paper & Pussy,” off Green Lantern’s Invasion Radio 2K10 mixtape. Regular Nas collaborator Salaam Remi laced the production, and utilized a vintage old school break in Billy Squire’s “Big Beat” combined with the horns of Herb Alpert’s “Rise,” most notable for sample base for Biggie’s 1997 single “Hypnotize.”
This isn’t the first time Salaam Remi has went “retro” with Nas for great results. He used the seminal break from the Incredible Bongo Band’s “Apache” for 2002’s “Made you Look.” In ’04, he reworked Billy Joel’s “Stilletto” (first used by Kool G Rap on “Road to the Riches”) for the original, street version of “Disciple.” That year also saw Remi use the Incredible Bongo Band’s version of Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” for “Thief’s Theme.”
And before the release of 2006’s Hip Hop Is Dead, fans were in a frenzy off the throwback feel of the leaked “Where Y’all At,” which featured a clever reworking of a break on Minnie Riperton’s “Rainy Day in Centerville.”
Nas’s albums have tended to stray away stylistically from those leaked tracks. But this time Remi assures fans that Nas has much more similar material in store for fans.
“Realistically, it’s nothing that’s ever foreign. We always work together,” Remi told MTV News. “We work when nobody is thinking that we are. It’s not even working — we just do what we do. It’s always going…It can be firing at any moment. It’s just about when it’s time to let it loose, and he’s about to unleash another flurry of music through the multiple projects he has coming out.”
Nas “Power, Paper & Pussy” [No DJ Tags, CDQ]