In The Vaults
As this blog has attempted to demonstrate, rivaled only by Mobb Deep and Ghostface, in terms of quantity and quality of unreleased songs, Nas has enough Lost Tapes for more than just one album. Everything from pre-Illmatic to post-Street's Disciple could probably even fill a respectable box set. And this is simply going off of what mixtapes have leaked and what file folders now hold. Who can imagine what's still locked behind closed doors? Today's entry reflects an attempt to gather a list of vaulted Nas tracks, more rumored than radio-rotated but hopefully on the horizon.
- According to Nas' long-time producer, LES, he and Nas, during the It Was Written sessions, were working on a song which utilized the same drum sample (Brethren's Inside Love) immortalized by A Tribe Called Quest on Electric Relaxation. And it seems this one could have been similarly classic, based on its title alone, "It Was A Lady Cop Sucking A Thug’s Dick, It Was Some Thug Shit, Some Bug Shit." That should be rather self-explanatory.
- During a 2005 interview with DJ Low Key, the legendary Large Professor, patron saint of all things Illmatic, disclosed that, over the years, he has done about a dozen songs with Nas that never have left the studio, almost enough for an album, he said. One track named in particular was Fahrenheit.
- Discussed in the XXL Making of Cuban Linx special, Nas went through several verses before finally deciding on Verbal Intercourse's instant-quotable rhyme. However, he was not the only person in the studio that night with more than one option, "RZA had a couple of beats ready. He played them for me. I got on both of them. The other one never came out." Who knows if Nas delivered the same rap over each beat, but, either way, since Wu-Tang is known for their own lengthy unreleased collection, that a collaboration between the two resulted in another addition to that collection shouldn't be much of a surprise.
- XXL was also the birthplace of another Nas rumored track. In their issue listing the most anticipated albums of 2006, Nas revealed, "I'm almost done [working] on a Queens anthem with another big Queens dude." Because Queens has had such a prolific run in rap music, there's more than a couple possibilities to mull over. Rev Run? G Rap? Q-Tip? Marley Marl? LL?
- Around the time of Stillmatic, Nas was asked about his process for writing Ether. Out of these questions came the revelation that reportedly Nas had penned an even more extreme version of the already out-there diss track. Maybe that's just Nas trying to be like, "I killed him, even when I scaled it back", y'know, some good hype. But, from another source, I have read that one of the axed-lines might have dealt with the beef Jay-Z once had with Big Pun, concerning the rumor of a certain bottle to Hov's head. However, if such a version of Ether ever did exist, there's a decent chance it stayed strictly on paper.
- The Curse remains one of the most infamous unreleased Nas songs. As it was distributed in snippet form on an I Am sampler, we at least have audio of the first verse and hook; however, ever since then, people have been looking for the full length. That Nas respit the leaked verse on a recent Killah Priest mixtape suggests that the current condition of The Curse will not be upgraded, but we can still be dreamers. (Nas actually has another song with KP that's still in the chamber. Because, for as long as The Offering has been on hold, so has Rivers of Blood. People have been talking about the album, and the song specifically, since last summer, but neither have yet to materialize.)
- Another time Nas teased with promo tapes didn't even have a snippet to offer. To announce the coming of It Was Written, the rapper recorded Escobar Season Begins and distributed it to media outlets and mixtapes. Then, on that same sampler, advertisements also announced that IWW would feature appearances from Method Man and D'Angelo. At that point, with D'Angelo yet to run from the spotlight, Meth not needing to remind people he was still around, and Nas trying to bolster sales, the collaborations made sense, but we don't even know if they all actually made it to the studio.
- I'm sure everyone loved the Get Down opening on God's Son, but, on alternate tracklistings for the 2002 LP, it's nowhere to be found. In its place, and in the place of several other songs, we find Crabs In The Barrel, My Will, Fuck Hot, Grimey Ways, and Ridin' Broke. To show that this is not simply some bogus Internet creation, we do know that at least the first verse of My Will has since leaked. Ridin' Broke is also a real song, a mixtape joint with The Bravehearts. Additionally, in an interview with Nas, Murder Dog confirmed Crabs In The Barrel. Then Fuck Hot may never come out at all, because its rumored subject matter, Nas pulling the entire industry's card, would likely burn more bridges than just QB. Finally, Grimey Ways was to feature Nashawn.
- From the same website with the God's Son alternate listing linked above, several featured producers are also named. Two of the four, Salaam Remi and The Alchemist, did make it to the official copy, but the site goes on to list Large Professor and "Psycho L.E.S." To tackle the latter issue, that's Psycho Les of the severely overlooked Beatnuts crew. However, especially because of the capitalization of "L.E.S.", it's most likely some kind of editorial error, confusing the Beatnuts dude with the Life's A Bitch dude. As for Large Professor, although we can't say with any certainty which song(s) of his got cut, his name in the mix once more should remind fans of Star Wars, which was released in 2004, on the Illmatic 10th Anniversary album, but, because of its continued Jay-Z taunts and the fact that it featured the same beat from Hip-Hop, off Ex-P's 2002 1st Class, was most likely recorded during the time of God's Son as well.
- Street's Disciple didn't escape unscathed either. Anybody Test, Good Morning, Talk of New York, Serious, and the Stiletto-take of Disciple all failed to make the final call, for a number of reasons, but others not made available for public consumption too were left behind. According to 2004 reports from MTV, Puffy and Nas were to link back up again, for the retro I Am Somebody. (Over at Youtube, Bounce managed to track down a video clip of some of the I Am Somebody session.) That MTV report also details the hustler's song, Play on Playa, which Blender magazine even quoted, "throw carnations at my tombstone." Moreover, alternate tracklistings go on to mention a Get Up and a Titillating, both of which have failed to appear anywhere else.
- Lastly, back before Def Jam became a reality and when NASDAQ Dow Jones was the questionable album title of the moment, Nas talked about doing several follow-ups to tracks from Street's Disciple, including These Are Our Heroes PT II and an Unauthorized Biography of KRS-One. The originals of both songs were examples of an idea being better than its execution, so, if these ones ever did or do get finished, hopefully Nas will practice a bit more finesse, and then, of course, have them released.
Nas: Star Wars
Nas f/ The Bravehearts: Riding Broke
BONUS: Large Professor: Hip Hop