By Bridget Bland with reporting by Hillary Crosley
Nas recently penned an open letter to his label Def Jam demanding they release Lost Tapes 2, after the MC tweeted that the LP was on the way. The piece appeared on The Lefstez Letter and MTV News spoke with an unnamed source from Nas’ camp who confirmed the letter’s authenticity.
“It was a personal e-mail,” the source said. “[The leak] wasn’t planned. It was not meant to be blasted out in the world, but we’re not upset about it.”
The “One Mic” rapper addressed L.A. Reid, Steve Bartels, Steve Gawley, Michael Seltzer, Joseph Borrino and Chris Hicks in an email with the subject line that read “Put My S*** Out.”
Opening with the declarative statement that he was “nobody’s slave,” Nas went on to say that the problem with his current label home is “the executives think they are the stars.”
“You aren’t…. not even close. As a matter of fact, you wish you were, but it didn’t work out so you took a desk job,” he wrote.
Born Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones, the nine-time Grammy Award-nominee signed to Def Jam under then-president Jay-Z, his former rap rival—a move that signaled the end of their beef. He released his first Def Jam album Hip-Hop is Dead in 2006 and followed with the controversial untitled set in 2008.
Since then, he dropped a collaborative project with reggae star Damian Marley called Distant Relatives, but his upcoming solo project has since been stalled.
“I have a fan base that dies for my music and a RAP label that doesn’t understand RAP. Pretty f—ed up situation,” he said.
As for his next official LP, Nas has been in the lab with Swizz Beatz, DJ Premier, The Alchemist, Bangladesh, and Dr. Dre for his tenth album, but the Queens native says Def Jam won’t help him get out anything new.
“Lost Tapes is a movement and a very important set up piece for my career as it stands. I started this over five years ago at Columbia,” he said.
“… Nobody knew what it was or what it did but the label put it out as an LP and the fans went crazy for it and I single handedly built a new brand of rap albums. It’s smart and after 5 years it’s still a head of the game. This feels great and you not feeling what I’m feeling is disturbing. Don’t get in the way of my creativity.”
He added that “beefing with record labels is so 15 years ago” and noted that even though he’s done business with Tommy Mottola and Donnie Einer, two men he considers “the most psycho dudes this business ever created,” he was able to do work well with them because “they believed in me.”
“They didn’t give a f— about any radio station or magazine …those dudes had me,” he added.
Although it’s highly unlikely that a scathing letter like this will get the MC what he wants, Nas says he’s prepared to play hard ball. He should call Lupe, maybe do a protest mixtape.
“You don’t get another Nas recording that doesn’t count against my deal… PERIOD! Keep your bulls— $200,000.00 fund,” he declared. “Open the REAL budget. This is a New York pioneers ALBUM, there ain’t many of us. I am ready to drop in the fourth quarter. You don’t even have s— coming out! Stop being your own worst enemy. Let’s get money!”
The “God’s Son” has spoken.