Photo by Ted Maider
Nas has spent the last few months celebrating the 20th anniversary of his Illmatic debut, including a full performance of the record at Coachella. Reminiscing about music past appears to have gotten the rapper thinking about music future, as he’s now hard at work on a new record.
In an interview with NPR (via MTV), Nas confirmed that he’s been collaborating with Timbaland, Swizz Beatz, and No I.D. on material for his next album. He actually started working with Timbaland over a year and a half ago, around the time he dropped Life is Good. After deciding he didn’t want to rush back to the studio and stepping away, he found inspiration while working with One9 and Erik Parker, the duo behind the documentary Time Is Illmatic.
“I wasn’t really, really, really inspired, to tell you the truth, until we started to, kind of, embark on this 20th anniversary,” Nas told NPR’s Frannie Kelley and Ali Shaheed Muhammad. “Cause I got a chance — and I gotta give credit to the documentary guys. Them showing me the footage and stuff really like — it really lets you know where you come from and everything, and where you at now… [T]hat’s helped me find the inspiration. I found it.”
Since then, Nas and his trio of producers have been mulling over the material he started back in 2012. “I laid down ideas, so the ideas I lay down then, now, I’m kind of like going through ’em and I’m fixing ’em,” he explained. “Now I’m at a place where I could play a song for somebody and they really get it and they really understand — they really feel it. At first I didn’t, so I’m happy to say I’m at a place where it feels right.”
Last year, there was a tease of Nas in studio with Justin Timberlake, Jay Z, and Timbaland, reportedly working on a song called “Sinatra in the Sands”. There’s currently no word on whether that song will make it onto the new album, but we can take a look back at the rapper’s 10 best tracks while we anticipate his future ones.