Kanye West’s rollout of producing five projects in consecutive weeks so far has been a success. The first project, Daytona by Pusha T released on May 25th debuted in the top 5 of the billboard charts. More importantly he created quite a stir with the back and forth battle with Drake. Kanye’s album Ye released on June 1st debuted at number one moving 200k in physical sales and streaming. The collaboration project which came out last Friday with Kid Cudi titled Kids See Ghosts is projected to move 100k and finish somewhere in the top 5 on the charts. The most anticipated album of the rollout, Nas’s new album is still set for a June 15th release. Only to be followed by Teyana Taylor’s album June 22nd. Kanye West has shared with the world that he still working on the album up to the last minute.
Nas and Kanye have been collaborating for 20 years at this point. Let’s revisit a time when Kanye was just about the music. Back when Kanye was hungry and wanted to prove to the world that he belonged in the hip hop world and be heralded as a top producer. First track to look at is “Turn It Out” off of Jermaine Dupri’s 1998 album Life In 1472. It would be six years before Kanye’s debut album The College Dropout would come out. Early on Kanye would showcase his talent of integrating classic soulful samples into memorable tracks.
Jermaine Dupri – Turn It Out feat Nas (prod. by Kanye West)
The next track is an unreleased gem titled “Can’t Nobody” The track was recorded during Nas’s third album I Am… which came out in 1999. The verses would make the album but under the track:”K-I-SS-I-N-G” produced by legendary producer Leshan David Lewis, better known as L.E.S. It has been highly debated which version reigns superior.
Nas – Can’t Nobody (Prod. by Kanye West)
Nas – K-I-SS-ING (prod. by L.E.S.)
Another track produced by Kanye during that era for Nas that would go unreleased until finding a home on the classic 2002 compilation Lost Tapes project is “Poppa Was A Player”. Kanye skillfully uses a sample of Eddie Kendricks classic “The Newness Is Gone”. If memory serves me correctly this was on an advance copy of Nas’s I Am that had been heavily bootlegged due to the recent introduction of the mp3. Nas smartly held on to these memorable tracks and repackaged it several years later as a compilation.
Nas – Poppa Was A Player (prod. by Kanye West)
The last track to cover is “We Major” off of Kanye’s 2005 sophomore album Late Registration. This would be the first time where Kanye produced the track as well as trading verses with Nas. I wanted to share the history between Nas and Kanye to help paint a picture of how great the new project dropping on June 15th should be.