A novel’s worth of praises have been written about Nas’ lyrical prowess. However, common wisdom suggests the little homey’s ear for beats held back his appeal for years. His pen has cut its way through some truly audio slop but why should it have to be that way?
It doesn’t! That’s why we, upon Nas’ recent album announcement, compiled a list of producers he should work with. You’re probably wondering why we’re singling out DJ Premier, though. Well, every f*cking rap nerd from NY to Kyoto begs for them to work to together. We definitely wouldn’t fight a song from the two given their history but we get the point and, you know, there are other worthy producers out there. Now let’s get to the nominees.
Previously — New Nas Album On The Way
While the two respective legends have not collaborated to date, it would be quite the audio treat to hear some Nasty Nas-esque flows over Sly Jackson’s obscure, yet undeniable Cali funk. A magician when it comes to concepts and storytelling, its safe to say the session between the two would spark the imaginative greatness Nas is capable of when motivated. The result would serve as one of the more anticipated tracks from the album and could potentially be a landmark moment artistically for the pair.
2. Noah “40” Shebib
“40” is very selective about who gets to touch his beats. Besides Drake, only Lil’ Wayne and a handful of others (usually featuring Drake) have gotten to try their respective hands on 40s unique and moody style. Nas’ collaboration with 40, “Bye Baby” was a standout on Life Is Good, but with co-production by Salaam Remi, it seemed like 40 met Nas in his comfort zone. It would be a interesting change of pace for Nas to try out some of the more ambient production 40 reserves for Drake, and give it a QB twist.
3. Harry Fraud
One of the hottest hands in the production arena lately, Harry Fraud’s grungy, Rotten Apple-centric beats have taken the game by storm, straddling the thin line between the mainstream and underground with ease. After working with a who’s who of the blog circuit, it’s only right Fraud connect with a legend who’s talents are tailor made for his production style, possibly invoking a “Thief’s Theme”/”Made You Look” performance from the king from Queens. Having a feature from fellow QU repper Action Bronson on said track wouldn’t be a bad idea either, but we won’t press our luck.
4. Pete Rock
While many are busy clamoring for that long-awaited reunion between Nasir and Premo, there’s another boom-bap champion that would serve as a satisfactory consolation prize: Pete Rock, Soul Brother #1. From the moment you first heard their first collaboration “The World Is Yours,” it was clear that the two jazz-loving heavyweights had an undeniable chemistry that was music to the ears of rap nerds worldwide. We say bring things full circle and cook up something that would Heavy D. and Ill Will head-nodding in heaven.
5. No I.D.
Most people will tell you that Life Is Good is one of Nasir’s better albums in recent memory. Those same folks will also tell you No I.D. produced some of the project’s best cuts (“Daughters” & “Accident Murderers”). That said, keeping the Windy City OG and his thumping, nostalgic sound behind the boards for a follow-up LP only makes sense.
Although widely considered as one of, if not THE premier lyricist in Hip-Hop history, one of God’s Son’s Achilles heel is his penchant for dropping sub-par club bangers. Instead of getting Salaam Remi or Swizz on the horn, call up Hit-Boy, who has serviced everyone from ‘Ye and Jay to Kendrick Lamar with high octane soundbeds. With his versatility and knack for getting prime-time performances out of his clients, we’re sure the finished product would snag radio-play and mixshow spins in its sleep.
7. Jake One
Considering he released an album through Rhymesayers – as a member of G-Unit in-house production team – this extremely versatile producer has a dusty, but G’d up sound that would be ideal for Nasty Nas. Thing is, they’ve never cut a record together. This seems like an opportune time as any.
8. DJ Quik
It’s safe to say Nas and the Quiksta are two of Hip-Hop’s most intellectual minds. Yet, somehow Compton’s beat genius and QB’s finest lyricist have never shared song credits. Since Quik can create anything from intimate jazz to aggressive boom-bap, getting him and Mr. Jones into the studio would almost certainly produce magic.
9. Burn One
We know Burn’s another dark horse pick but hear us out. Imagine Nas waxing philosophical about Egyptian pyramids, exotic strains of weed, past hood excursions seen via his project window and soft pillows from Bed Bath & Beyond over mellow, soulful production à la The Ashtray. Avant garde meets country rap tunes just waiting to happen.
10. Just Blaze
Just Blaze’s style ranges from bombastic to subdued so there’s no doubt the two would work something out. That is, unless, Just plays a few beats and Nas’ tin ear can’t compute them. The preceding statement sounds awfully believable but we’ll remain optimistic, though!