Nas Confronts Def Jam Label Executives About His Next Album

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Nas has announced that The Lost Tapes, Vol. 2, his sequel to the 2002 outtakes collection, is going to come out in the near future. However, Nas and Def Jam do not appear to be on the same page.

This letter from Nas to the record label executives at Def Jam leaked sometime yesterday, and I wanted to re-post it for anybody who hasn’t seen it yet. It’s basically just Nas venting about the music industry, and I’m sure nothing will come of it besides a good laugh between the executives, but it is still a good read!

From: Nas
To: LA Reid, Steve Bartels, Steve Gawley, Michael Seltzer, Joseph Borrino, Chris Hicks
Peace to all,

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.

I won’t even tap dance around in an email, I will get right into it. People connect to the Artist @ the end of the day, they don’t connect with the executives. Honestly, nobody even cares what label puts out a great record, they care about who recorded it. Yet time and time again its the executives who always stand in the way of a creative artist’s dream and aspirations. You don’t help draw the truth from my deepest and most inner soul, you don’t even do a great job @ selling it. 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. Pretty fucked up situation

This isn’t the 90’s though. Beefing with record labels is so 15 years ago. @ this point I just need you all to be very clear where I stand and how I feel about “my label.” I could go on twitter or hot 97 tomorrow and get 100,000 protesters @ your building but I choose to walk my own path my own way because since day one I have been my own man. I did business with Tommy Mottola and Donnie Einer, two of the most psycho dudes this business ever created. I worked well with them for one major reason……. they believed in me. The didn’t give a fuck about what any radio station or magazine said….those dudes had me.

Lost Tapes is a movement and a very important set up piece for my career as it stands. I started this over 5 years ago @ 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 shit on a MAGICAL moment.

You don’t get another Nas recording that doesn’t count against my deal….PERIOD! Keep your bullshit $200,000.00 fund. Open the REAL budget. This is a New York pioneers ALBUM, there ain’t many of us. I am ready to drop in the 4th quarter. You don’t even have shit coming out! Stop being your own worst enemy. Let’s get money!


  • Jon Ostrow

    A little sloppy on his part, too much ranting going on.

    BUT I think it truly comes from the heart and it is nice to see artists who have been in the game for so long still have the drive to create and satisfy. The one thing this does truly show, which I think is a very important thing for emerging artists to understand is his dedication to his fans. Having that fan-centric attitude is key to growing a fan base.

    Thanks for sharing this Chris! I hadn’t seen it yet. :-)

  • guest

    I like the part about “Let’s get money!”…

  • Josh Walker

    He has a point. The label executives (or any successful executives for that matter) run the risk of thinking the success of their company or product falls solely on their shoulders. They can lose sight of the creative process and what is really driving sales. It isn’t their genius marketing campaigns. It’s the original product. The artist. The song.

    The executives need to realize that they could be swapped out with a whole other set of marketing agents, PR people, artist managers, etc, and everything else and the artist would still be able to connect with fans and sell albums. If you left the executives in place and swapped out artsits, though, you would fail.

    The industry is failing in more ways than one. They have lost sight of the reason people listen to music. It is all about the dollar to them.

    The label needs the artist; the artist needs the fans. The artist DOES NOT need the label in todays industry. Bottom line: the fans keep the industry going, not the labels.

    Thanks for posting that, Chris. He did do a little bit of rambling, but at least he feels like he can confront the label. A lot of artists just fall in line and march to the labels beat.