Thursday, August 24, 2006

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: Disciple (original)
Nas: Star Wars
Nas f/ The Bravehearts: Riding Broke
BONUS: Large Professor: Hip Hop


Blogger Fletch said...

1. Thanks to Stu for the idea and some help with this post.

2. In case you're wondering, I didn't up Serious because I still plan to post about it in the future. Then I didn't up Anybody Test because it's one my least favorite unreleased Nas songs (he does have misses).

3. Here are a couple more rumors that I'm fairly certain are fiction rather than fact, but you can decide for yourself: Nas & Rakim - Rotten Apple (NY State of Mind Pt 3) / Nas & Prodigy - Roc Them 2 Sleep (Jay-Z Diss) / Ghetto Prisoners Pete Rock remix / The General Pete Rock remix / Nas and Large Pro - On the Ave / the household roach song

4. If you know any secrets yourself, post up.

August 24, 2006 5:26 PM  
Anonymous ensi said...

dope post

I don't know what rock I've been under but I'm trippin cause I ain't heard these joints:
"Anybody Test, Good Morning, Talk of New York(this I only heard acouple times from one of my peeps but haven't been able to find),"

Can you up these one please?

But good blog...always some quality ish.

Peace and Blessings

August 24, 2006 8:25 PM  
Anonymous stu top dude said...

Don't know if it was ever put on wax, but Nas and the late Ill Will had a lot of material.

Good post, can't really think of anything that's left out...

August 24, 2006 11:54 PM  
Anonymous Colin said...

When I first got Street's Disciple I immediately deleted the orig. version of Disciple thinking they were one and the same. I soon learned they weren't and was upset. Now I have it again and I am happy, as I actually like the original more.

Good info on the unreleased (and possibly yet to be made) tracks in the Nas collection. The only other story I know of is the BIG and Nas were working on a remix to..."Machine Gun Funk" or "Gimme The Loot" that got scrapped. Apparently Nas didn't have anything and said to BIG something to the effect of "Your pad's empty too, we'll do this tommorow." Then BIG proceeded to spit the verse he had been writing in his head and Nas just left thinking he wasn't on the same level or some shit. I have no idea as to the veracity of that story though.

And finally, you couldn't just up "Anybody Test" for us to make our own desicion on it?

August 25, 2006 12:46 AM  
Blogger Fletch said...

Colin, good call on the MGF remix. From the VH1 special right? Going off of that connection, I've also heard, from ?uestlove of The Roots even, that the OG version (press advance) of Life's a Bitch used the Mtume Juicy Fruit sample that Big would eventually make a hit in 1994. . . . Then, as far as Pac, there were at least talks that he and Nas were going to work together for the One Nation album, apparently right after the Vegas trip.

Ensi, I don't wanna up tracks that I've upped in the past, so as to not set a precedent, but, because I have no plans of including Anybody Test in any future posts, for you and Colin, here it is:

The faux Jamaican thing was just a bad idea that ruins what could have otherwise been a decent lyrical turn (like Suicide Bounce II thematically) over an effective beat.

August 25, 2006 1:36 AM  
Anonymous Ensi said...

Word Thankz Fletch I appreciate that.

Peace and Blessings

August 25, 2006 7:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm happy you penned this, because its been something thats always perplexed me as a Nas fan. Its really an example of how closeted Nas is about music he doesn't release. It only adds to frustration that he's never really out in the public, for someone to ask questions on the whereabouts of these songs. Though its interesting, and I'm excited to see what becomes of it in the future.

August 25, 2006 1:06 PM  
Blogger Game Theory said...

Haha well I'm the 'anonymous' above,but I wanted to add to the song 'Get Up' that never made it to Street's Disicple.. it was mentioned in an interview he did for New York Magazine...heres the link

August 25, 2006 7:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2.Theif's theme
3.i am somebody feat. p diddy
4.just a moment
6.nazareth savage and you on playa
9.getting married 4 life
11.sun factor

Disc 2 know my style
2.bachelor party
3.bridging the gap
4.serious feat az
5.message for the boys
6.if the world was mine
7.remember the times
9.foul breeze
10.the fear now of my life
tat as the original track list tat i posted on killa board from SD.well we heard piece of I'm sombody,play on playa is a scott storch track and there is a mag with some of the lyrics for foul breeze.Btw is Riding Broke two seater of another track(i want to know before i DL).thugspoet

August 26, 2006 5:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is wat i was tlk about.
On “Something (Foul Breeze)” Nas sprays all over the map; each breath springs a fresh emotion. Over the course of three minutes, he reminisces about wanting to be the tap-dance kid; he reflects on his engagement; he questions himself (“Am I charismatic enough?”); he touches on violence in white high schools; he panics (“Something is bothering me / I just can’t figure it out”); he boasts with the best of ’em (“Wrist is froze like the toes in a morgue”); and he gets rawer than Kane (“Lucifer masturbated in my dreams”).
I sent the link for eat these bullet via the yahoo email u got to the right, did u get it

August 26, 2006 5:33 AM  
Blogger Fletch said...

GT, for posterity's sake, here's the quote from New York Magazine, "Street’s Disciple boasts not only the first-ever vocal guest spot from his father (jazz trumpeter and storied sideman Olu Dara) but also music from Dara’s bandmates. As a new song called “Get Up” plays on the Escalade’s CD player, Nas says over the post-bop din, “There are some cats on there who play with my dad.” He turns the volume down. “The new record has a jazz vibe; it’s about that era when Low End Theory came out,” he says of the totemic 1991 A Tribe Called Quest record that featured legendary jazz bassist Ron Carter."

Then here are a couple more rumored tracks posted by djjames at SOHH:
I Got Game - unreleased Nas from Illmatic era
The Death of Escobar (DOE) - actual track title, unreleased from Stillmatic, nothing else is known
Bomb First - Nas/Cassidy collab, didn't make Cassidy's album (possible ironic update of 2Pac song)
You Can't Stop Me - Kanye West produced song that never made it to Stillmatic
Kids Have All the Fun - Song from 2000-01 era, little else is known

thugspoet, Riding Broke is different from Two seater. Also, not that I have any specific reason to not believe you, I couldn't find any information online to verify what you posted. And your Pound Magazine link isn't work.

Finally, I remembered another one . . . the missing verse from Death Anniversary.

August 27, 2006 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Colin said...

Remembered another one. Nas was supposed to appear on Jay-Z's "Can I Live" and just never did. That's according to XXL's recent 10 year anniversary look back at Reasonable Doubt.

August 28, 2006 3:59 PM  

Fletch I have that New York State of Mind 3 joint with NAS, RAKIM and ALICIA KEYES.

October 01, 2006 8:21 PM  
Blogger Fletch said...

That's actually Streets of New York, which I've posted, and it's made its way around anyway. The rumored track is 99.9999999% fake, so yeah . . . different songs.

October 01, 2006 8:37 PM  
Blogger Fletch said...

On a recent Hot 97 interview, Nas said the first song he ever recorded with Large Professor was entitled "Lyrically Ill". That seems to be another vaulted one.

He also confirmed that he was still planning to write an UB of KRS.

December 21, 2006 5:47 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

So I know this comment is about 2 & a half years late & no one will probably ever see it, but I just came across the blog & considering he's my favorite living artist, I just figured I'd add my 2 cents. That Riding Broke In My Hooptie joint that was spoken about, I remember when DJ Clue 1st played it on Hot97 in NYC and NAS called into talk about it, it was supposed to be a joint that him & the Bravehearts had worked on down in Miami that was meant to be on their album. And as far as the joint with D'Angelo & Method Man, I think in an interview, again, on Hot97, Nature said how Method never showed up for that session so Nas scrapped the song and him and Nature wound up making Shootouts.

February 13, 2009 8:56 PM  
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