Nas Lashes Out at Def Jam for Not Releasing Album
By Jason Newman Posted Oct 8th 2010 09:45AM
The tempestuous and fragile relationship between record labels and artists has existed since time immemorial, and now iconic rapper Nas is firing the latest salvo in his battle with Island Def Jam. In a recent e-mail sent to executives at the label, including chairman Antonio "L.A." Reid and President/COO Steve Bartels, the rapper bluntly admonishes Island Def Jam for not releasing 'The Lost Tapes 2,' the follow up to the rapper's 2002 B-sides collection 'The Lost Tapes,' in a timely manner and claims the label doesn't fully comprehend the relationship between Nas and his fans.
"'Lost Tapes' is a movement and a very important set up piece for my career as it stands," wrote Nas, under the subject heading of "PUT MY S**T OUT!"
Continuing his diatribe, the rapper wrote:
I started this over 5 years ago at Columbia and nobody knew what it was or what it did but the label put it out as an LP and the fans went crazy for it, and I single handlely built a new brand of rap albums. It's smart and after 5 years, it's still a head of the game. This feels great and you not feeling what I'm feeling is disturbing. Don't get in the way of my creativity. We are aligned with the stars here, this is a movement. There is a thing called KARMA that comes to haunt you when you tamper with the aligning stars. WE ARE GIVING THE PEOPLE EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT. Stop throwing dog s**t on a MAGICAL moment.
"With all do respect to you all, Nas is NOBODY's slave. This is not the 1800's, respect me and I will respect you," he continued.
Last month, the rapper tweeted "It's coming... LOST TAPES VOLUME TWO!!!" and told MTV News that the album was scheduled for a December 14 release. It's unknown at this point if that release date stands or if it will get pushed back, a common practice with hip-hop albums.
None of the Island Def Jam executives mentioned in the e-mail was available for comment.
At the heart of the matter -- according to the source that originally leaked the e-mail to industry gadfly Bob Lefsetz in his e-mail newsletter, Lefsetz Letter -- is that the label refuses to recognize the album as part of its contract with Nas, presumably because the upcoming album is composed of previously recorded, yet unreleased, tracks. Since select tracks from the album may have been recorded prior to the rapper's signing with the label in 2006, executives at the label may use that to argue that the album does not satisfy the requirements of Nas' contract.
Nas goes on to chastise the label, alleging that it's the artist, not the executive, that draws fans in. "People connect to the artist at the end of the day. They don't connect with the executives...[T]ime and time again its [sic] the executives who always stand in the way of a creative artist's dream and aspirations...The #1 problem with DEF JAM is pretty simple and obvious, the executives think they are the stars. You aren't... not even close. As a matter of fact, you wish you were, but it didn't work out so you took a desk job. To the consumer, I COME FIRST. Stop trying to deprive them! I have a fan base that dies for my music and a RAP label that doesn't understand RAP."
The rapper recently released 'Distant Relatives' with reggae singer/emcee Damian Marley and is currently working on his tenth album with production by Dr. Dre, Swizz Beatz and DJ Premier.
The full e-mail can be read here.
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