So, Def Jam didn’t want to put out the Lost Tapes 2, because there’s no business case to do so, and this is not like 2002 or whenever, when you could just put out any ol’ BS and it wouldn’t end up costing the label a shedload of money, and so Nas wrote Def Jam a letter explaining how he isn’t a slave? I guess that sounds reasonable.
No but really, I can’t see how this could possibly end up working out well for Nas.
What does he really expect to come of this? Is Def Jam gonna change its mind and put out the album, because they’re afraid 100,000 Nas fans are gonna show up to the Def Jam, holding picket signs and clutching copies of the dreaded n-word album? Presumably, the Def Jam building is in a nice part of town, even though I heard it has bed bugs, which may or may not be related to Foxy Brown’s well-documented personal hygiene issues. If as few as 10 Nas fans got anywhere near the Def Jam building, 5-0 would probably stop them to ask if they had any weed in their pocket. Which of course they would.
There went that plan.
Plus, it’s not like Nas crafted a worthy sequel to Illmatic. If he had, and Def Jam wouldn’t release it, for whatever reason, I’d be out in front of the Def Jam building myself, with a bullhorn, in a velour sweat suit (which I need to cop anyway, because all fat black guys should own a velour sweat suit), shouting things that I’m sure would upset a tall Israeli. I’d connect my iPod to a public address system and blare Mos Def’s “The Rape Over” on a continuous loop.
This is just the Lost Tapes 2. If it isn’t released on CD, so someone at the plant can steal a copy (you’d think there’d be a solution to this by now), take it home and rip it, and upload it to mediafire or whatever, where we can illegally download it, we can just wait until it pops up on the Internets anyway – because Nas himself leaked it, to stoke interest in his next real album, or because the white guy from 2dopeboyz figured out Nas’ email password (I’d try “milkshake”), or whatever. A label refusing to release an album would only be an issue if that actually meant we’d never get to hear the album, like back in the ’90s.
If the goal was just to make the public aware that he has a problem with his label, I’m at a loss for why that was even necessary. We already know he has a problem with his label. He puts out albums that couldn’t possibly be commercially successful, usually with one cynical attempt at a crossover single that’s somehow even worse than the rest of the songs on the album. His last album was named after the dreaded n-word, and then the single was produced by Polow da Don, the self-proclaimed King of the White Girls. (I’m so jealous.) A mutual appreciation of pot-smoking may have been the impetus for that album he did with Damian Marley, but at least the latter was coming off of the ur-obnoxious “Welcome to Jamrock.” I could see how the white people in charge may have thought that was a good idea. Or at least better than anything Nas could come up with on his own.
Alas, Distant Relatives didn’t exactly set the world on fire, now did it? I had to check the world’s most accurate encyclopedia to see if really did come out this year. Things vanish from my consciousness so quickly these days, especially if I don’t really give a shit about them. Def Jam spent a lot of money on that album, shooting videos, sending them out on tour, where you know good and well people just showed up to see Nas play songs from Illmatic, and what have you. And that was just a few months ago. Why should they bother putting out another Nas album so soon, except for the fact that, as Nas pointed out, they don’t have shit else to release this fall? Throwaway collections are for artists coming off of albums people actually bought, like when Jay-Z would put out those albums with Linkin Park, and R. Kelly, and probably a buncha other shit I’ve long since forgotten about.
This was all very obvious to me, and I didn’t even know the actual names of the white people Nas works for until just now. But I did find the letter good for a chuckle of two. Kudos to Nas for bring a bit of enjoyment to my life this fall. It isn’t every fall that that happens.