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.
Watch the official video for “BE A NIG*ER TOO” here: http://www.nasindependenceday.com/
Nas & DJ Green Lantern – The Nigger Tape (Mixtape):
“Hero” – Audio Stream (Produced By Polow Da Don)