NAS TO RELEASE ‘UNTITLED’ NEW DEF JAM ALBUM ON JULY 15TH FIRST SINGLE, “HERO,” PRODUCED BY POLOW DA DON, LEADS OFF CONTROVERSIAL NEW ALBUM; PRODUCERS INCLUDE GRAMMY WINNER MARK RONSON, STARGATE, COOL & DRE, JAY ELECTRONICA, AND STIC.MAN OF DEAD PREZ
OFFICIAL VIDEO “BE A NIG*ER TOO” AVAILABLE ON NASINDEPENDENCEDAY.COM
Long-awaited follow-up to first Def Jam album, 2006’s Grammy-nominated
Hip-Hop Is Dead
Surrounded by controversy at every stage of his long and influential career as the conscience – and often most severe critic – of hip-hop, Def Jam Recordings artist Nas has returned to the headlines, declaring that his new 9th album, arriving in stores July 15th, will be untitled. The untitled new album follows-up Nas’ Def Jam debut, the Grammy nominated Hip-Hop Is Dead, which entered the Soundscan chart at #1 in December 2006, on first week sales of more than 350,000 copies.
“It’s important to me that this album gets to the fans,” Nas said of his newest project. “It’s been a long time coming. I want my fans to know that creatively and lyrically, they can expect the same content and the same messages. It’s that important. The streets have been waiting for this for a long time. The people will always know what the real title of this album is and what to call it.”
In advance of the untitled new album, which will be issued on the Def Jam/Jones Experience imprint, the first official single will be “Hero,” produced by Polow Da Don.
Over the past few weeks, two tracks from the album have been leaked: “Black President” (produced by DJ Green Lantern) and the album’s closing track “N.I.G.G.E.R. (The Slave and The Master)” (produced by DJ Toomp), containing the provocative lyric, “They say we N-I-double-G-E-R/ We are, much more/ But still we choose to ignore the obvious/ Man, this history don’t acknowledge us/ We were scholars way before colleges…”
One of the albums highlights is “Fried Chicken” featuring Busta Rhymes, produced by the Grammy winner for Producer Of The Year, Mark Ronson. “Fried Chicken,” finds Nas and Busta in top form, mixing elaborate metaphors over a decidedly throwback Ronson track. “When I was young, sitting in my room hammering out beats on my MPC, Nas was one of those truly legendary artists that you daydream, ‘One day, I’ll get to do a track for…,'” says Ronson. “We finally met Grammy night in LA, and he said he wanted some stuff from me for the album. I started thinking to myself, as a Nas fan, ‘What kind of beats would I love to hear him over?’ That’s how the Dapkings and I came up with the track for ‘Fried Chicken’, and I reckon it sounds like a stone cold classic.”
The untitled new album will also include collaborations with producers Stic.Man from Dead Prez, Jay Electronica, Stargate, DJ Cool & Dre, and others.
Hip-Hop Is Dead, the third album by Nas to enter the charts at #1, got started with the lead title track single “Hip-Hop Is Dead,” produced and co-written by and featuring will.i.am. of Black Eyed Peas. The cut (which sampled ’60s hits “Apache” and “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”) made it inside the Top 40 on the Hot 100, Pop 100, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Hot Rap Tracks, and Hot Digital Songs charts. It was followed-up with “Can’t Forget About You,” featuring fellow Def Jam artist Chrisette Michelle, a jazz inspired Top 10 Rap track also produced by will.i.am, that riffed off a sample from the classic “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole.
Time Out New York stepped out early in January 2007, and picked Hip-Hop Is Dead as “rap record of the year.” Pitchfork’s reviewer called it “the album I’ll give to people in 20 years when they ask who Nas was.” The album release set up the “One Man, One Mic, One Night” 26-city North American tour, one of the biggest ever by Nas, from March through May 2007.
* * *
An influential hip-hop culture icon since the early 1990s, Nas (Nasir Jones) emerged from the Queensbridge neighborhood of Long Island City, a hotbed of rap artist since the ’80s. Son of jazz trumpeter Olu Dara, junior high school drop-out Nas apprenticed with such local crews as the Devastatin’ Seven (at age nine) and Main Source (“Live At the Barbecue,” 1991).
Nas first reached an international audience when his track “Halftime” was tapped by producer MC Serch as the opening cut on 1992’s Zebrahead movie soundtrack. Signed to Columbia Records, the first full-length album by poet and rhyme-master Nas arrived in 1994, the RIAA platinum Illmatic, featuring the singles “It Ain’t Hard To Tell,” “The World Is Yours,” and “One Love.” 1996 brought the breakthrough double-platinum It Was Written (#1 R&B for 7 weeks, #1 pop for 4 weeks), with his first major crossover singles “Sweet Dreams” and “If I Ruled the World (Imagine That).” The streak continued with the double-platinum I Am in 1999 (again #1 pop and #1 R&B), containing the chart singles “Nas Is Like,” “Hate Me Now” (featuring Puff Daddy), and “You Won’t See Me Tonight” (featuring Aaliyah).
Subsequent albums by Nas included: the RIAA platinum Nastradamus (1999, #2 R&B, #7 pop, with “Nastradamus” and “You Owe Me,” featuring Ginuwine); the platinum Stillmatic (2001, #1 R&B, #5 pop, with “Got Ur Self A…,” “Ether,” “One Mic,” and “Rule”); the platinum God’s Son (2002, #1 R&B, with huge R&B/pop crossover hits “Made You Look” and “I Can”); the platinum double-CD Street’s Disciple (2004, #2 R&B, #5 pop, with “Bridging the Gap” and “Just a Moment”); and Hip-Hop Is Dead in 2006.
Over the years, Nas has also been the featured guest on a number of crossover hits by other artists, among them: Allure (“Head Over Heels,” 1997); R. Kelly (“Did You Ever Think,” 1999); Missy Elliott (the #1 “Hot Boyz,” 1999); fellow Queensbridge rapper Mobb Deep (“It’s Mine,” 1999); Nature (“The Ultimate High,” 2000); Jagged Edge (“I Got It 2,” 2002); J-Lo (“I’m Gonna Be Alright,” 2002); Kelis (“In Public,” 2003, and “Blindfold Me,” 2006); Kanye West (“Classic (Better Than I’ve Ever Been),” 2006); and others.
In addition to his successful career in music, Nas has pursued a career in motion pictures that began with his co-starring role (alongside DMX) in 1998’s crime drama Belly, a film by director Hype Williams (with whom Nas has done several video clips). Subsequent appearances include Albert Pyun’s action crime thriller Ticker (2001, with Tim Sizemore and Steven Seagal); Carl Seaton’s Sacred Is the Flesh (2001, also co-written by Nas); a cameo as himself in Boaz Yakin’s comedy Uptown Girls (2003, with Brittany Murphy and Dakota Fanning); Lawrence Page’s Murda Muzik (2004, with Ron Artest and Chinky); and the fictional hip-hop group bio-pic The Vapors (upcoming in 2008, with an all-star cast of Roxanne Shanté, Kool G Rap, Marley Marl, Biz Markie, and others).
Watch the official video for “BE A NIG*ER TOO” here:
Nas & DJ Green Lantern – The Nigger Tape (Mixtape):
02 Gangsta Rap (rmx) (prod. DJ Green Lantern)
03 Cops Keep Firing (prod. DJ Green Lantern)
04 Hero (prod. Polow Da Don)
05 Black President (prod. DJ Green Lantern)
06 Association f. stic.man (of dead prez)
07 Legendary (Mike Tyson).. (prod. Salaam Remi)
08 Ghetto (rmx) f. Joell Ortiz (prod. DJ Green Lantern)
09 Seen it All (Green Mix)
10 Esco Let’s Go (Full Song) (prod. Dj Khallil)
11 N.I.G.G.E.R. (Slave and Master). (prod. DJ Toomp)
12 Be a Nigger Too (rmx) f. Dante Hawkins (prod. DJ Green Lantern)
13 Surviving the Times (Original Cool and Dre Version)
14 Nas Timeline (mixed by Statik Selektah) (Nararated by Nas)
15 Outro f. Richard Pryor