Nas is following in 50 Cents footsteps and going independent. The rapper who recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of his debut album Illmatic is launching an independent label called Mass Appeal Records. Once his Def Jam deal expires later this year, all new music will through Mass Appeal. With the label he hopes to not only shape the careers of rap hopefuls but also generate new music of his own. Fans can be on the look out for Lost Tapes 2, a collection of unreleased Nas music.

Last year Nas and label co-founder Peter Bittenbender raised $1.2 million to re-launch its sister company Mass Appeal magazine. The two entities are expected to work together like companies such as Vice Records and Vice magazine.

"I'm excited to be a part of creating and supporting future careers and legacy artists, promoting love and finding new genius to help the world," said the Time is Illmatic star in an email to Billboard. "I'm going to be as involved as I need to be, but I also want to be respectful of the art and give artists the space they need to grow and become themselves."

The label is slated to release a compilation album late this summer featuring rappers Future, Pusha T, Mac Miller and A$AP Mob. The album will also feature Nas performing a cover of the 1994 Gang Starr single that gave the company its name. Also up is a posthumous album from Pimp C that will pair UGK member with production from Juicy J, Mike WiLL Made It and DJ Mustard.

[via Billboard]