While out at the NASS Festival in the UK last weekend, Nas sat down with HypeTrak for an interview and he spoke on when we can expect his next album, what it was like sharing a studio with Justin Timberlake, Beyonce & Jay-Z, what to expect from him at the Rock The Bells fest and more! Below is an excerpt from the interview.
You have been a part of several amazing collaborations recently – Jay-Z’s “BBC” which features Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, and Swizz Beatz. How was it working with these great artists and how does the energy differ in during sessions for songs like these compared to working with younger artists?
Obviously the energy was crazy. It was surreal. Especially because I never thought I would be around this long when I first started out and I’m sure these guys neither. I sat back watching everyone working their magic and thinking, “wow, we’re still here.” Don’t get me wrong though, it is also great to work with younger artists because their talent is much rawer and their full potential has not been fulfilled yet.
What was your initial reaction to J. Cole‘s “Let Nas Down” and how did you approach your verse for the remix?
I was blown away when I first heard it because I had no idea at all that this was coming. The song has been out for a while and a lot of people were wondering what my thoughts were and what I had to say about it. A remix seemed like a perfect channel for my thoughts and let him know that I do know that he is nice with his craft. I remember — for his first album — I wanted him to do a whole raw record without any radio songs on it. Ok, maybe one radio song but not too radio at the same time if that makes sense (laughs). This is me speaking from the perspective of a selfish fan. I just wanted him to ice n****s and come through with some straight up raw sh*t.
Life is Good was a mature record and offers a detailed look on your personal life. How do you feel about the people’s reaction about the record?
It was heavy. I feel like it encouraged people to release their records in a more hip-hop way of mind — from the young artists to the older vets. If you look around the musical landscape things feel more hip-hop than it has in years And that was definitely my intention, so I’m happy to say: mission accomplished.
How would you compare it to your previous records?
You have to come full circle in your life to put out a record that reflect on you full circle. The task was to pay respect to the era that I came in the game — which was in the ’90s — but also make sure it sounded contemporary enough. Let the people know that you should never lose yourself. Stick to your sound, stick to your guns. It is great to experiment but it also great to know that you can always come back to the sounds that identifies you — the sound that shows you who you really are.
Are you opting to use this “mature” approach for your upcoming albums as well or will we see a completely new direction in the future?
Different. It will definitely be different because I am feeling different.
When will we see a new album from you?
Really soon. I am looking straight down the highway and it’s a clear lane. It’s perfect for me — to drop this year.
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