Nas’ Def Jam contract is up by the close of the year. What’s a legend to do? Stay at the House That Russ Built? Shop his talents elsewhere? Start his own label?
The latter. Per Billboard, Esco is teaming up with Peter Bittenbender, founder of independent record label/creative studio Decon Records, to transform Decon’s musical arm into Mass Appeal Records.
Last spring, Nas and Bittenbender raised $1.2 million to relaunch the street art and culture publication Mass Appeal magazine, which will serve as a sister company to Mass Appeal Records akin to the relationship between Vice Records and Vice magazine, or The Fader magazine and Fader Label…
First among Mass Appeal Records releases, arriving late this summer, will be an annual compilation album featuring friends of the brand like Future, Pusha T, Mac Miller, A$AP Mob and Nas himself performing a cover of the 1994 Gang Starr single that gave the company its name. Also on deck is Lost Tapes 2, a collection of unreleased Nas music, and a posthumous album from Pimp C that will pair the Houston icon and UGK member with modern production titans like Juicy J, Mike Will Made It and DJ Mustard.
Nas told Biilboard, “I’m excited to be a part of creating and supporting future careers and legacy artists, promoting love and finding new genius to help the world. I’m going to be as involved as I need to be, but I also want to be respectful of the art and give artists the space they need to grow and become themselves.”
Per the report, the label’s first official signings are Boldy James, Bishop Nehru and Fashawn. All material is currently slated to be distributed by Sony’s RED imprint.
Not a bad agenda for the rest of the year, and not a bad stable of artists, considering the label would appear to have dropped into our laps out of nowhere.
The idea sounds good on paper, especially for Nas from the perspective of giving himself the best opportunity to release music from here on out and making the most money from his efforts. But Nas as a label head? There are a lot of angry rappers from Queensbridge who might question the idea. Say a silent prayer for Boldy, Bishop and co., that Nasir has the proper infrastructure set up to ensure these guys’ success.