This Friday Nas will return to the forefront of hip hop, dropping the new album produced by Kanye West. Prior to this project though fans have been clamoring for the Nas and DJ Premier collaboration project that has been in talks since 2005. The last time it was brought up was through a DJ Vlad interview conducted in 2015. DJ Premier mentioned that Nas wanted to fulfill his contractual obligation with Def Jam of one more album. The two hip hop greats would have complete control of the project by going the independent route. A good possibility is that the project would be released under Nas’s own Mass Appeal Records which he established in 2014.
DJ Premier – Interview Discussing Nas (VladTV)
The two have a rich history and connection collaborating at least on one track on Nas’s first five albums. DJ Premier’s presence was heaviest on 1994’s Illmatic. Three of his tracks appeared on Nas’s classic debut album including “N.Y. State of Mind”, “Represent”, and “Memory Lane (Sittin’In Da Park)”. The album itself is considered to be the strongest out of his entire discography.
Nas – N.Y. State of Mind (prod. by DJ Premier)
Nas – Represent (prod. by DJ Premier)
Nas – Memory Lane (Sittin’ In Da Park) (prod. by DJ Premier)
The next three projects Nas would put out between 1996-1999 had more of a commercial feel to them with remnants of the elements from his debut album sprinkled in. Fortunately DJ Premier was kept in the equation. His tracks would continue to be standouts during this era. This included “I Gave You Power” off of 1996’s sophomore album It Was Written. On the follow up, 1999’s I Am… DJ Premier provided Nas’s lead single “Nas Is Like” and “N.Y. State of Mind Pt 2”. This was a sequel to the predecessor initially on Nas’s Illmatic album. The last contribution from DJ Premier during this era was “Come Get Me” from Nastradamus
Nas – I Gave You Power (prod. by DJ Premier)
Nas – Nas Is Like (prod. by DJ Premier)
Nas – N.Y. State of Mind Pt 2 (prod. by DJ Premier)
Nas – Come Get Me (prod. by DJ Premier)
In 2001 Nas circled back to his roots of having a socially conscious focus with his fifth album Stillmatic. DJ Premier contributed the track “2nd Childhood”. At this point in time this is the last track DJ Premier has produced for a Nas album. The last track Nas and DJ Premier were on together was “Classic”. The track commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Nike Air Force Ones back in 2007. Nas appeared on the mic alongside greats Rakim and KRS-One with Kanye West added on to the remix.
Nas – 2nd Childhood (prod. by DJ Premier)
Nas feat. Rakim, Kanye West, & Krs-One- Classic remix (prod. by DJ Premier)
Each track Nas has worked with DJ Premier is a memorable one. That is how I would picture a full- fledged collaborative album between the two would shape up. Each and every song on the project would make a meaningful impact. It makes sense to have Nas take care of contractual obligations with a major label before doing the album. By being independent Nas and DJ Premier will be able to avoid politics, having complete control and putting out something that is absolutely “primo”.