Roundup PT VI
The major news coming from Nas' corner regards the new album, but let's start elsewhere first:
- Before his own project hits stores, come next Tuesday, October 17th, Nas will be featured on two new releases: Diddy's Press Play (Everything I Love) and Hi-Tek's Hi-Teknology 2 (Music For Life). The version of Music For Life I previously upped featured only Nas, but the retail copy includes a very poignant message left by the late J Dilla and one from Busta Rhymes, as well as a new verse by Common. On Diddy's side of things, he announced that Everything I Love will get the "split video" treatment. Remember what happened last time Nas and Puffy did a video together?
- Earlier this year, Fat Joe criticized Nas and his partnership with Jay-Z, "I used to look up to Nas a lot, and I don't really respect what he did." Because Misters Escobar and Crack used to be more aligned than not, even collaborating on 1998's John Blaze, this revelation came as a surprise to many.
Well, according to the most recent album release schedule, with Nas said to be on Joe's upcoming Me, Myself, & I, whatever discrepancies were momentarily there have supposedly been put aside.UPDATE: Fat Joe's album came out today and Nas is nowhere to be found on it. Maybe there was bad info from the release schedule lineup, maybe the track hit the cutting room floor suddenly, maybe the beef is still there, maybe maybe not.
- Perhaps more cloudy than the Fat Joe-and-Nas setup is the trio of Rakim-Freddie Foxxx-and-Nas. Now, Foxxx and Rakim have their own issues, going back to earlier Long Island days, where, depending on who you ask, Ra did or did not turn down a challenge from the one Bumpy Knuckles. Later, Rakim got a little touchy when the subject was brought up in an interview; Foxxx then responded, in print and on record. On that record is where Nas, seemingly out of the blue, becomes involved, "Here's the facts / Eric B wanted Nas / Ra said he was wack / Jesus Christ was black / So Nas, you ain't God's Son / 'Cause he won't do the track." This is all a part of the strong-armed MC's portrayal of Rakim as a liar, a phony, and his point that, in this case, whatever respect has been shown to Nas isn't how it really is. (Freddie Foxxx himself is cool with Nas, as the two once recorded Turn Up The Mic together.) However, with the Eric B-Nas connection left as vague as possible and Rakim yet to tell his side of things, this story remains unfinished.
- Carry the Tradition (Prod. Scott Storch): According to his interview on Radio 1, Nas covers the subject of old school rappers who have been left out of much of Hip-Hop's commercial success, now becoming upset at Nas and his generation of MC's for their good fortune. Fader describes the beat as "pretty."
- Blunt Ashes (Prod. Chris Webber): That's right, that Chris Webber. If you've been following the concreteloop part of the world, you'd know that Nas and C-Webb have been friends for quite some time now. However, that the power forward is producing a track on one of the most anticipated albums of the year is still a bit surprising. (Word is Chris might have done some ghostproducing before, coming up under the tutelage of Detroit's Kaos & Mystro.) For his part, Nas is said to go through the high's and low's of a laundry list of varying famous people.
- Hip-Hop Is Dead (Prod. Will.I.Am): This one's just as Rolling Stone reported back in the summer, where "hard drums and crowd chants rule." Moreover, MTV writes that it incorporates Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. Salaam Remi previously used the Incredible Bongo Band cover of that classic for Thief's Theme, so we'll have to wait to see how they compare.
- Play on Playa (Feat. Snoop Dogg) (Prod. Scott Storch): If your memory is good enough, the title "Play on Playa" should sound familiar. This is because, in certain Street's Disciple media coverage, Playa was written up, and even quoted, "throw carnations at my tombstone." On the other hand, a Snoop Dogg appearance was not documented in any press, so that appears to be a recent addition.
- QB True G (Feat. The Game) (Prod. Dr. Dre): Although no official word has been sent down yet, Nas has hinted that his collaboration could end up as the "street single" look. From the production's side, MTV relays that "the beat has the feel of the dark party track Dre gave 50 Cent for the Outta Control remix, but [with] a bit more bite." FADER too sizes it up as a left turn, in the sense that Nas is enlisting these big name hitmakers but not so much for their instant Billboard-chart qualities.
- Still Dreamin' (Feat. Kanye West) (Prod. Kanye West): Having previously used Kanye's production to propel Poppa was a Player, Nas returns with his Chicago brethren, though this time 'Ye handles both rapping and beatmaking duties. Apparently Nas delivers two verses, including a story set on the fast life of a female newscaster caught up in some nasty nasal habits.
- Unforgettable (Feat. Chrisette Michele) (Prod. Will.I.Am): Based on the Nat King Cole standard of the same name, XXL first reported that "Yvette Michele" was the featured female singer. However, "Chrisette Michele" turns out to be the real "Michele", and also just happens to be a Def Jam artist. MTV makes it out to be a reminisce-type track, which has always been a strength of Nas'.
- Where Are They Now (Prod. Nas): While write-ups thus far do not mention it, back on Radio 1, Nas broke down this song and his role behind the boards as well. Nas explained how it focuses on today's young rap music audience and their disconnect from the very artists that once inspired him back in his youth.
- Where Y'all At (Prod. Salaam Remi): Although it was let loose this past summer, Where Y'All At also has not been discussed during the preview reports as of yet, but we can probably assume that's because it's already out there.
- Let Me in the Light (Feat. ???) (Prod. Kanye West): XXL suggested that "one of Nas' homies does a good Anthony Hamilton impersonation on the hook" but didn't have a name to offer. Perhaps that means Ill Will Records signee Tre Williams, who does have a quality similar to Anthony Hamilton. Williams was also featured on several tracks from 2005's Living Legends mixtape, including Jackson Street.
- New York Stomp (Prod. ???): If the aforementioned QB True G is not going to be the single release, a Mixtape Monday interview with Nas has the rapper saying that honor could go to a record named, "New York Stomp." No mention of any such title has been made elsewhere however.
- White Man's Paper (War) (Feat. Damian Marley) (Prod. ???): The reggae-scented duet between Nas and Marley, in part, concerns "the politics of warfare", as Rolling Stone detailed earlier. The question marks regarding the producer are there because we only know from FADER that "some new African dude" put the work in. Who is that? It's anyone's guess, Africa is kinda big.
- Title Unknown??? (Prod. Salaam Remi): As the first outlet to hit on this one, FADER tells of the song's stadium-like strings and drums. With Nas striking a bit venomous, apparently the stadium setting takes on an especially Roman coliseum feel. New York Stomp?
- Title Unknown??? (Feat. Jay-Z) (Prod. L.E.S.): According to XXL, Jay-Z and Nas "knocked out three songs in one night, and one is making [Hip-Hop Is Dead]." This doesn't necessarily mean that all important first collaboration will appear on HHID, but, during the Westwood interview, Nas implied that much. And lucky LES gets the honor (see: pressure).
- Hip-Hop Is Dead . . . The N: December 19, 2006.
Freddie Foxxx f/ Nas: Turn Up The Mic
Nas f/ Tre Williams: Jackson Street
BONUS: Freddie Foxxx: Rakim Diss
BONUS: Incredible Bongo Band: In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida