It’s been a long time coming, but the sequel to Nas’ critically acclaimed The Lost Tapes is finally dropping this month.

Esco fans have been waiting on this album for more than 15 years. The Lost Tapes debuted in September 2002, featuring tracks from the cutting room floor of his previous albums. Despite the non-commercial appeal, the album, which is sans features, received rave reviews and premiered at No. 10 on the Billboard 200. Having yet more material, the Queens rapper promised to release part dos in 2003, but it was pushed back. Label rigmarole prevented its release again seven years later, which led to the project being shelved indefinitely.

In 2014, Nas breathed life into Lost Tapes' highly anticipated second coming when he launched Mass Appeal Records. However, the project was again put on the back burner once he shifted focus to what would eventually become his Nasir album. It looks like Mr. Jones is finally ready to give fans what they have been waiting for. In June 2019, he teased the release with a promotional Instagram post where the lab coat and white gloves-wearing rapper holds what looks like a fossilized cassette tape with the words The Lost Tapes II chiseled into it. A trailer followed in July, which revealed the star-studded list of producers who appear on the release.

Mass Appeal / Def Jam
Mass Appeal / Def Jam

This will be the first time Nas has released albums in back to back years since 2001's Stillmatic and The Lost Tapes and God’s Son, both in 2002. With The Lost Tapes sequel finally seeing the light of day in a couple of weeks, XXL compiles all of the information we know about the upcoming release. Lost and found.

  • The Holdup:

    The original The Lost Tapes was released on Sept. 24, 2002 and features Nas fan favorites like “Blaze a 50,” “Doo Rags” and “Drunk by Myself,” with production from The Alchemist, L.E.S., Rockwilder and others. The sequel was expected to drop the following year and was even given a release date of Dec. 16, 2003. Unfortunately, the project was pushed back.

    Seven years later, after a transition to Def Jam Records in 2006, fans were still fiending for the follow-up. Again, the album was given a release date of Dec. 14, 2010. Again, the project was delayed with the main culprit being complications from a label change from Sony to Def Jam.

    In October 2010, Nas sent out a scathing e-mail to Def Jam execs demanding the release on the project while also pointing out he was “NOBODY’s slave.”

    His fans got in on the act as well and petitioned the label that December via a website titled with the following plea:

    We the fans of Nasir Jones, have been waiting for the follow-up to the 2002 classic Lost Tapes. This was a record of compiled tracks that did not make Nas albums, but put together for the sake of the fans. Since its release almost a decade ago, it has received critical acclaim and quickly became a fan favorite.

    It has come to our attention that Nas has in fact completed the follow-up, titled Lost Tapes 2, and is waiting for you (Def Jam) to green-light the project and give it a release date. We do not like to go into speculation and rumors, but it seems as though you do not want to release Lost Tapes 2 because you don’t want it to count as an official album since Nas only has 2 more albums left to fulfill his contractual obligation to Def Jam.

    Like the Lupe Fiasco fans, we understand how important it is to support the artists that still strive to bring creativity and artistic integrity back to the forefront of Hip-Hop. Nas is a hip-hop legend whose career has lasted nearly 20 years and deserves to be treated as such.

    We ask that you give the people what they want and release Lost Tapes 2 to the fans.

    Nothing worked and Esco eventually abandoned the LP and placed the blame squarely on Def Jam.

    “When I released Lost Tapes, it was on Sony. Being at Sony for so long, I was used to things going easy. Kinda easy,” Nas revealed in an interview in 2011. “At Def Jam, I just got there, I'm still in my ways at Sony. I'm like, 'Yeah, this record'll come out this time, a few months later I'ma drop this.' But we just started working together, so they're like, 'We can do this, but wait, maybe we should do it like this,' and I wasn't used to that. And then there was no communication at all, and I wasn't used to that."

    "With Sony, I wasn't used to a lot of communication, it was just, we understood what we were doing," he continued. "Def Jam, it was more, 'Let's sit down, let's have tea and talk this over.' I wasn't so used to that, and I saw kinda things falling behind. It kinda messed up my flow, I thought. The timing for that is gone.”

    In 2014, Nas again got fans hype when he revealed he would put the project out on his Mass Appeal Records label. Finally, 17 years after The Lost Tapes, the fans are finally getting what they’ve been asking for.

  • The Songs:

    While The Lost Tapes featured songs that didn’t make the cut on I Am… and Stillmatic, the new album will feature 16 previously unreleased tracks from recording sessions from the Queens rapper's previous four solo albums: Hip-Hop Is Dead, Untitled, Life Is Good and Nasir. Whereas many of the songs on The Lost Tapes leaked onto the mixtape circuit ahead of the album's release, most of the songs from its sequel have been safely tucked away in Nas' digital vault.

    The Lost Tapes 2 features guest appearances by Swizz Beatz, RaVaughn, David Ranier, Al Jarreau, J Meyers and Kenyon Harrold.

    Here's the full tracklist for The Lost Tapes 2:

    1. “No Bad Energy”
    2. “Vernon Family”
    3. “Jarreau of Rap” (Skatt Attack) Featuring Al Jarreau, Keyon Harrold
    4. “Lost Freestyle”
    5. “Tanasia”
    6. “Royalty” Featuring RaVaughn
    7. “Who Are You” Featuring David Ranier
    8. “Adult Film” Featuring Swizz Beatz
    9. “War Against Love”
    10. “The Art of It” Featuring J. Myers
    11. “Highly Favored”
    12. “Queens Wolf”
    13. “It Never Ends”
    14. “You Mean the World to Me”
    15. “Queens Bridge Politics”
    16. “Beautiful Life” Featuring RaVaughn

    Two of the tracks, “You Mean the World to Me” (f.k.a. "The World") and “Who Are You,” have previously surfaced:

    Nas also teased a snippet of "Lost Freestyle" on July 2, 2019:

    On July 12, 2019, Nas dropped the jazzy "Jarreau of Rap (Skatt Attack)":

  • The Producers:

    Nas has revealed the list of producers on the project and it’s stacked. The likes of RZA, Pharrell, Swizz Beatz, No I.D., The Alchemist, Kanye West, Statik Selektah and Hit-Boy will all have contributions on the release.

    1. “No Bad Energy” (Prod. by Swizz Beatz)
    2. “Vernon Family” (Prod. by Pharrell Williams)
    3. “Jarreau of Rap” (Skatt Attack) (Prod. by Eddie Cole)
    4. “Lost Freestyle” (Prod. by Statik Selektah)
    5. “Tanasia” (Prod. by RZA)
    6. “Royalty” (Prod. by Hit-Boy)
    7. “Who Are You” (Prod. by Eric Hudson)
    8. “Adult Film” (Prod. by Swizz Beatz)
    9. “War Against Love” (Prod. by DJ Dahi & DJ Khalil)
    10. “The Art of It” (Prod. by Pete Rock)
    11. “Highly Favored” (Prod. by RZA)
    12. “Queens Wolf” (Prod. by DJ Toomp)
    13. “It Never Ends” (Prod. by The Alchemist)
    14. “You Mean the World to Me” (Prod. by Kanye West)
    15. “Queens Bridge Politics” (Prod. by Pete Rock)
    16. “Beautiful Life” (Prod. by No I.D.)

    No I.D. largely helmed Nas' 2012 renaissance album, Life Is Good, along with Esco's longtime producer Salaam Remi, who is noticeably absent from The Lost Tapes 2. No I.D. lands one placement here.

    Kanye West produced every track on Nas' 2018 album, Nasir. However, "You Mean the World to Me" originally leaked onto the Internet in 2009, and is believed to have originated from the Hip-Hop Is Dead recording sessions.

    Ye, Nas and RZA have long toyed with the idea to work together on one album. The Wu-Tang Clan founder chips in two beats here.

    DJ Toomp and Eric Hudson produced on Untitled; "Queens Wolf" and "Who Are You" are likely products of those sessions.

    Swizz Beatz, Pete Rock, The Alchemist and Pharrell all have long working relationships with Nas. It's unclear where their records with the legendary MC originate.

    Nas via Instagram
    Nas via Instagram
  • The Release Date:

    Nas is ready to heat the summer up, picking July 19, 2019 as the release date for The Lost Tapes 2. It's set to arrive 13 months after the release of his last full-length project, Nasir.

    The album's accompanying merch is designed by NYC-based lifestyle and fashion brand Aimé Leon Dore.

More From XXL