With Stillmatic and Hip Hop Is Dead celebrating 10 and 5-year anniversaries next week, Nas speaks on having to hound Dr. Dre for beats and more…
With Hip Hop Is Dead, do you feel like that album marks you becoming an elder statesman in the game?
I didn’t go for that. That’s not what I was looking for, but for an MC point of view and a competitor point of view as an MC, yea, I was with that.
Did you have any reservations about sampling “Iron Butterfly” for the second time because you did it on “Thief’s Theme” before?
No, that was the joke. Hip-hop is dead. I’m gonna do the same beat again from my last album that was my last single. This is gonna be the shit again. And will didn’t even know it at the time, will.i.am when he played it for me and I told him that’s why I have to do this record. For me it was perfect. I know people didn’t get it, but it was my little joke.
The album also marks you working with Dre for the first time in 10 years. How did you guys reconnect?
You know, just hounding Dre ’til you get him. I just had to hound my man, you know what I mean? Once he opened up, he had a moment. I jumped right in there. I flew right in, got in the studio. [I'm] always excited to see him in the studio.
Game was on the track, but that was after he got kicked off Aftermath. How did that happen?
That almost didn’t happen, but again, hounding Dre. Staying on him, staying on him, staying on him. “Come on, I need this.” You know, [I] stayed on him.
Was he initially like, “I don’t want to put Game on the track or something like that?
Nah, he never said that. It was just, we wasn’t gettin’ any response. We needed a mix and master the song, so we wasn’t gettin’ any response on anything. We had to stay on him. He’s a busy man.