Nas is one of Hip-Hop’s seminal artists; with his groundbreaking 1994 album ‘Illmatic’ produced by Hip-Hop Heavyweights Large Professor, DJ Premier, Pete Rock and Q-Tip he introduced us to his poetic narrative style flow. 2008 Nas released the controversially titled ‘Nigger’ album on his own Jones Experience Label under the Def Jam umbrella and became The Face of Fila. With a seven minute slot, Lady A.i. speaks to the man himself…
A.i.: What’s been the response so far on the ‘Jones Experience tour’? Any plans for the tour to hit the UK / Europe soon?
Nas: It’s right here in the US and it’s been going really well. It’s just gonna stay in the US.
A.i.: Solid reviews for the ‘Untitled’ album – in this age of the internet, fans would have got the music anyway regardless of it not being stocked by the big chains, due to it’s controversial title – ‘Nigger’; so, why change it’s title?
Nas: That’s the whole point, people saying it’s been changed, it hasn’t been changed. There is no title on the album, we call it ‘Untitled’, but that’s not the title. The album will remain the name that it’s been, but we never made it a big deal about just putting that word on there. People know what it is, they see the cover and the ‘N’ whipped into the back, they know which album it is. There’s not even my name on the album.
A.i.: You worked with a range of producers on the ‘Untitled’ album – what do you look for in a producer?
Nas: Somebody who has a vision, who knows music and likes to take chances and things like that.
A.i.: How can Hip-Hop be dead when you are obviously still a viable participant of and contributor to Hip-Hop music?
Nas: I just think it’s been good that people can see that when you buy a Lil’ Wayne album, when you buy a Kanye album or a Nas album they all stand for something different, they mean something different and rap music has a lot to say, whether it’s Wayne, T.I. or Nas, rap has more than one thing to say.
A.i.: Have you signed any artists to the Jones Experience label yet?
Nas: No artists.
A.i.: Do you have any plans to do so? If so who are you looking to sign?
Nas: Not soon, just whenever it happens. It has to hit me in a certain way that I feel it like, wow, you know. Yeah artists can send stuff; you can reach me at the Jones Group Management team on the website.
A.i.: Your support for Barack Obama has been documented – do you honestly believe that white America is ready to be led by a black man? Will they actually vote for him once behind the curtain of the voting booths?
A.i.: Will he be able to bring about real change or will the role as first black president limit his ability to make lasting change?
Nas: I think he’s a human being and we haven’t had a lot of human being presidents we’ve had nice guys here and nice guys there but not many. So he brings back the hope that human beings can run this instead of just pure insane, war-mongering business men.
A.i.: The American Olympic team all voted for Sudanese refugee Lopez Lomong to carry the American flag at the Beijing Olympics 2008 opening ceremony – any thoughts on this? Do you think this shows a significant change in the attitudes of Americans on issues of race, immigration and patriotism?
Nas: No, I think it’s a great thing… because right now in Sudan parents are being slaughtered, forced to drink their own urine, they’re being treated in the most inhumane way possible. There are organisations in America that help guys who made it out of Sudan. So, it signifies a start to America helping those kids in Sudan. America can do great things.
A.i.: How soon can we expect to see an album from you and your wife, Kelis?
Nas: Not too sure, we just move how life moves and whenever it feels like it’s time to make that happen then we’ll make that happen. Thank you for your interest and your caring.
A.i.: Why did you become the face of Fila?
Nas: Fila is the original fly shit, I’ve always loved the shell-toe Adidas and what Run DMC did with them and the original Pumas and of course Jordan’s is number one; but Fila was always number one with me early. It’s fun to bring back this brand and work with this brand that so many people love. They have incredible athletes and music people that represent them, I’m happy to work with people like them who are happy to work with me and have fun together giving the people what they want.
Nas is currently the face of Fila. For stockists call 01923 475 600.
Large Pro is coming to Leeds in Sept – http://www.ukbboy.info/forum/showthread.php?t=13862