Nas Helps Def Jam Roll Out Plans for a Springtime Takeover
Def Jam Recordings held an industry-wide conference call this evening (April 5) to announce their upcoming lineup of spring music releases.
Rapper Nas called in for the conference that linked more than 400 journalists, bloggers, DJs, and radio program directors with news from some of the label’s artist roster.
Also included on the live call were rappers YG, Big K.R.I.T., and 2 Chainz, who updated callers on their latest ventures and music.
Nas reported on his forthcoming single entitled “The Don”, soon to serve as the lead single from his upcoming summer album, Life Is Good.
His portion of the call started with a sneak sample of the West Indian-inspired, lyric heavy song — one he later found out was produced by Heavy D after the Mount Vernon’s rapper/producer’s passing last fall.
“The Don” will also be spotlighted as part of the music selected for the 2012 NFL Draft.
“Salaam sent me a track — no, he played it over the phone — and when he played it, I heard Supercat’s voice in it. I like Supercat, I’ve always liked Supercat, so I kinda had an idea of what I wanted to do with it,” said Nas during the call. “When Heav died, Salaam called me, he said, ‘Yo man, you know who gave me that beat?’ I’m thinking since Heav just died, it gotta be by Heav. So, I’m like, ‘Who?’ and he’s like, ‘Heav.’ I’m like, ‘Wow.’ So it just took on a whole new level.”
The Queensbridge rapper was more vocal than typical on the call, answering participant questions on everything from Hip-Hop’s responsibility on speaking out about Trayvon Martin to thoughts on the historic label he is currently signed to.
“Trayvon Martin is a conversation we’re having everyday since the beginning of America,” Nas noted. “So, it’s amazing that this young man, his life has become something to pull us all together to protest this sickness of racism. It’s just sad that someone this young had to come to that kind of cowardice, you know what I’m saying.
“Hip-Hop having a responsibility? Of course. Hip-Hop has many responsibilities, and does Hip-Hop as a whole? No. There’s too much going on for Hip-Hop as a whole to focus on one thing. But, yeah, why not? Yeah.Trayvon was Hip-Hop, he’s one of us so, of course, we have a responsibility to do something. Something. You know what I mean?” he added.
On other fronts, Nas also spoke about his featured appearance on “Champion” from the recently-released Nicki Minaj album, Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded.
“You know, Nicki’s the sh*t. I love how she works,” Nas said. “Just listening to her music, I can kinda get a vibe on how she works. It sounds like a lot of hard work, and I love her music. I was just down, I was just down to do it.”
About the new album, Life Is Good, and its reported references to his past work, he said, “There’s a couple of records; there’s another ‘Black Girl Lost’. We trying to place the album sequencing right now, and the album songlist is coming soon. So, hopefully that cut will be on the piece when it’s slated for its position, ‘cause there’s some other records that just feel kinda better in the lineup. If it doesn’t come out on the album, I’m gonna put it out anyway.”
When asked about his feelings toward Def Jam, an imprint he has vocally spoken out against in the past, Nas said, “I definitely am very serious about this Def Jam label and what I thought about Def Jam just coming up. They did the unthinkable. They put out Beastie Boys, they put out Public Enemy, and the list goes on. Just having a record out on Def Jam is me crossing things off the list, you know what I’m saying, things I want to do, things I want to accomplish, things I want to conquer. That’s one of the things that’s always been on my list, and I gotta tell you, every label that I’ve been at, there’s always been the bad side. You know, nothing’s perfect in anything you do in life, especially when it comes to music and the music business.”
In the long stretches between his albums, Nas said he depends on his DJ friends to push his music at the street level to compete against the latest industry trends.
“As far as mixtapes, I don’t do those… Do what you do and may God be with you. I do what I do.
“It’s been a long time since I dropped a solo album…I don’t think it’s Escobar season this year. It’s Nasty Nas season. All my dons, raise a glass, Nasty Nas season has begun.”
Nas’ Life Is Good is due out on Def Jam in Summer 2012.