Words by DJ Sorce-1
I am a self-admitted mixtape junkie. Ever since I bought Tony Touch’s Tape #56 in 8th grade, I’ve been hooked. Although I’ve never been a big fan of exclusive joints, unless they feature some quality freestyles, I’ve been fucking with blend joints for a while and there are a lot of so-so blends out there that leave a lot to be desired. But when I hear a classic blend it sends chills down my spine.
One of my favorite MC’s of all-time, Nas, has always maintained a strong presence on blend CDs. Big name mix tape kingpins like Mick Boogie and Dirty Harry have done entire blend joints based around the famous QB MC. While these projects are both dope without question, there are a slew of incredible Nas blends from older or more under the radar releases that deserve equal recognition. These are blends that you may have missed, didn’t get their deserved props, or are classics from a few years back.
Handpicked by me, here are five essential Nas blends from my mix tape collection.
Nas just beasts all over the “Hoodlum” beat. I like Nas’s verses from “Hate Me Now”, but Puff ruined the OG joint for me. DJ Rondevu fixes that by eliminating Puff and instead pairing Nas with Rakim. Nas and Rakim sound so smooth over the same beat, it’ll make you start dreaming of the collaborative possibilities between these two. I could die a happy music fan if they did an album together.
Unexpected first broke onto the blend scene with his Big Daddy Kane and Jay-Z blend joint Kane vs. Hov. On his collaborative effort with Mick Boogie, Director’s Cut, he was able to tell a story about the drug game through music. Unexpected takes us back to the “golden era” with this track from Director’s Cut by pairing Nas’s vocals with Gza’s “Cold World” beat. Nas over Rza’s haunting, minimalist production is a beautiful thing. The result sounds like a lost Illmatic track.
Wiz Hoffa made a classic with this triple beat heater. This is my favorite blend out of these five songs, and my favorite blend for all of 06. Nas’s first verse over G Rap’s “1st Nigga” is a riot starter, while DMX rhyming over “The Shit is Real Remix” beat changes the feel of the song to somber and reflective. The highlight is the final Nas verse over “Return of The Crooklyn Dodgers.” This is probably my favorite Primo beat of all time, and Nas sounds like he would have fit right in on the original track with Chubb Rock, O.C., and Jeru.
What happened to Lt. Dan? I was checking for his releases a few years ago, but I haven’t heard much from dude lately. Maybe he’s doing live gigs instead of tapes. At any rate, this blend is official hard body shit.
Although this blend changes the whole vide of “Made You Look”, it works in a different way over Premier’s remix of “Next Level” by Showbiz and A.G. The song goes from being super energetic and hype to more laid back and mellow. Premier’s unforgettable baseline and low grunts mix effortlessly with one of Nas’s hardest tracks.
The way DJ Supreme flips Nas’s final verse of “The Second Coming” over different production compliments the sad and nostalgic tone of Nas’s lyrics.
“I remember park jams
Gazelles, perfect wave shell
Adidas, smellin’ reefer way before purple haze
Private stock bare, niggas wit ill walks like Mark Clare
Hats tilted, wild niggas lickin’ shots in the airâ€¦.”
Nas’s flow fits the Cormega “They Forced My Hand” beat perfectly. Supreme followed the golden rule of blending on this track and did more than match tempos. This is one of those blends that rivals the original song, and accomplishes what every blend should. It makes us look at an old song in a new light, and helps to remind us why we bumped it so often in its original form. My only complaint is that this blend is very short, and could have used an extra Nas verse.
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