There is confusion in rap right now. The story centers around Nas and a mysterious character named Your Old Droog. Droog is currently faceless, but not voiceless as his self-titled EP is drawing strong comparisons to Nas. So strong that many are suggesting Droog is Nas’ alter ego*.
For the record, eskay says he’s met Your Old Droog before. eskay’s a pretty believable guy. One of the guys at Complex claims he’s met guy before, too, and that it’s not God’s Son. Others have chimed in as well. The catch is no one can really recall anything distinctive about the guy but, as a writer who meets a lot of rappers, I can attest these rappers do all tend to blend together and become faces in the crowd when you meet them at an event or whatever and they hit you with the “please listen to my demo” deal.
Even with those confirmations, it was too late. The internuts had already swung into action with their conspiracy theory that Your Old Droog is Nasir. A Twitter search says most people are pretty sure it’s Nas but that doesn’t mean much considering Twitter kills Morgan Freeman every six months. reddit’s got their research going as does Rap Genius’ forum. As many have pointed out, Mass Appeal helped bring Droog to the public back in April. Mass Appeal’s owned by Nas. I even saw a cool etymology breakdown on reddit that I, as a student of words, found entertaining.
— Droog means friend in Russian. You Old Droog = Your Old Friend.
— Also appeared as Your Imaginary Droog / Your Imaginary Friend.
Then there’s the usual where the everyone cites something so many times that it becomes “fact” on the ‘net and in Droog’s case they’re repeatedly pointing out him referencing a Nardwuar interview, talks about divorcing a singer and other supposed key points. Others have taken to adjusting the pitch on certain songs to show similarities between both artists’ voices.
But through all of this, it begs to ask why would Nas release a project under anything that his own name? Contractual issues? Artistic freedom? The chance to experiment with a new sound? Well, when most artists do take an alternate route, they change their sound. That’s not the case with Your Old Droog’s material since we’re saying it sounds like classic Nasty Nas.
Which leads us to what it all comes down to – the music. Whoever the person is rhyming on the Your Old Droog EP does sound eerily close to Nas. The whole sound of his voice, the rhyme styles and, yes, the references do sound Little Homey-like. A lot. As far as lyrical clues go, he drops the line saying his debut is “as sick as Illmatic” on “Loosey in the Store With Pennies.” Yesterday, another, specific line caught my ear.
“Get gone you poor peasant, you speak scammin
Now I no longer go to Western Union to Moneygram,
I get money off the grammar…”
What stuck out was how familiar references like Moneygram and pulling scams were to early Nas material pop up. Who else uses and scams using Western Union minus cats from the ’90s? Obviously, it’s not anything scientific and more about intrinsic value. Call it a hunch and another log onto the conspiracy fire. There are tons of these small bits that make the whole “it’s Nas” theory seem plausible.
David said the telltale sign would be the production. If the beats were wack, we’d know it was Nas. Fact is the beats are far from wack. They’re warm and inviting. They’re gritty in an old New York way. They’re pleasant enough to lull the ears into comfort, leading you to listen to all 10 songs and then let them play again on repeat.
So, is Nas pulling a Verbal Kent/Keyser Soze move? I can’t call it. What I can say that it’s a really good listen, which is really all that matters to me honestly. If it is Nas, that’s cool because I just downloaded a free album with no worry or guilt about swiping it. If it isn’t Nas, DJ Premier needs to snatch Your Old Droog up ASAP and get him in the studio to make the next Illmatic.
Stream the EP below and download it here.
* — Remember when there was that huge fuss with dream hampton saying Nas used ghostwriters? Imagine if this Droog guy is one of them. Infinity times infinity types of mind-blowing sh*t to consider.