We all know that Nas has plenty of Lost Tapes. And we also know that sometimes he'll do a guest verse and pass on his destined-to-be-unreleased curse to the tracks he's merely featured on. Then there are the instances when what goes down falls in between either scenario: songs recorded with Nas but released without him. Two of the best examples of this type involve dudes from Nas' own backyard of Queens.
1995's On The Real, produced by Marley Marl, featured Nas' vocals first and then those of KL and Solo, aka Kamakazee. The story goes that Nas is chilling at Marley Marl's place, hears the beat, spits his verse over said beat, and then Kamakazee joins the ranks, with it set to be their song. It gets the B-side treatment and mixtape love, but Nas gets cold feet, backs out, and has his vocals taken out. (A Tribute To Ignorance has a great Blaq Poet interview saying this much.) While there is speculation that Nas did a 180 over some cash, what is certain is that when the Y2K album eventually hit stores, Cormega and Havoc wound up as replacements on the then-released On The Real. (Later, in 2004, as a solo track, Nas recorded a slightly updated version of his first verse, accompanied by two new ones, for the 10th Anniversary Illmatic bonus CD.)
The story behind the Buckwild-produced Holler Back ("Holla Back") I'm less certain about. The version of the song that showed up for sale on Kool G Rap's The Giancana Story was credited to G Rap, of course, then AZ and Nawz, who are both listed on the copy I have, and, finally, Tito, the apparent newcomer of the bunch. As to why Nas was removed, while it could have come down to money once more, the fact that Giancana Story had been heavily bootlegged months before it ever neared release likely also added to its biggest guest star exiting stage left. Lost for good, what maybe is most disappointing is that this particular verse showcases one of Nas' most memorable closing lines:
I opened up Shakespeare's tomb, stole his remainsKamakazee f/ Cormega, Nas: On The Real
And grinded his bones, then smoked it and got in the game
Kool G Rap f/ AZ, Nas, Nawz: Holler Back
BONUS: Nas: On The Real