Hip-hop heads rejoice. Nas is taking it back to his roots with his 10th album Life Is Good, due July 17. In the second part of Rap-Up.com’s exclusive interview, the hip-hop legend opened up about making “timeless” music and collaborating with No I.D. and Salaam Remi, who handled the bulk of production. Get some insight into the album’s direction (’90s meets 2015), the two featured guests he has in mind, and the inspiration behind the shocking cover art.
What was your mindset going into this project?
My mindset was to pull out a side of me that people haven’t heard in a while and give ’em that feeling that they haven’t felt in a while—a feeling that I love. And some of that feeling is ’90s-esque, some of that feeling is 2015. It’s just a feeling that I feel to be a timeless sound. So I just let it flow.
Who did you work with?
No I.D. and Salaam Remi are both producers who were making music in the ’90s and still make great music today, so they were best-suited to work this project ’cause they really lived it as well as I have. When we wanted some of that ’90s sound they were able to give it, but still keep it sounding like fresh original music. There’s a few different people who I grabbed beats from and we’re sequencing the record now. You might hear something from one or two other producers, but it’s basically No I.D. and Salaam.
Are there any features on the album?
I didn’t really see where it would fit. The only people I really wanted were AZ and Rick Ross. I’m just tryna see where I can place that on the record now as I’m sequencing.
“Another Black Girl Lost” leaked. Is that going to make the album?
We were thinking about putting it as a bonus, so we’ll see.
You have everyone talking with the album cover. Can you walk us through the concept?
Life, love, joy, anger, celebration. There’s so many things you can see on that album cover. You see my life. My life is on that album cover.
Was that your idea? How did that come together?
It just happened. It happened on its own. It was not a lot of effort at all.
We saw Kelis’ green wedding dress on there. Did you hear from her or her people?
We just put it out, so it’s still way too fresh.
Do you think you will be hearing from her?
Eventually at some point.