Before Nas’ Nasir album even dropped, he and the busy Kanye West were getting praise for the album cover that depicts kids up against a brick wall, some holding guns. Since the album released, “Adam And Eve” has been considered one of the standout tracks. There’s one person in particular who definitely agrees with both sentiments: Bay Area producer The Architect, who’s previously used the photo and the mandolin sample in “Adam And Eve” — ironically for a Nas remix project.
On Friday, The Architect producer took to social media to show that Kanye, or somebody in his camp, decided to use the photo from The Architecht’s joing project with Nowaah The Flood, Trill Life Mathematics. The brilliant photo was taken in 1988 by photographer Mary Ellen Clark for Texas Monthly Magazine, for a piece about a rough Dallas neighborhood that the crack epidemic had made worse.
No one knows who chose the cover for Nasir but it’s safe to assume that Kanye had a hand in the process, as he has for every cover released in his June album extravaganza. It isn’t the first controversial cover for Kanye this GOOD Music season as he caught flack for paying $85,000 for a photo of Whitney Houston’s unkempt bathroom and using it as the cover for Pusha T’s cocaine paradise Daytona.
The Architect inspiration doesn’t stop there though, as Kanye also seems to have borrowed a sample from The Architect’s Nas remix track, which is ironically entitled “No Idea Is Original.” The Architect sampled Iranian composer Kourosh Yaghmaei’s 1974 “Gol-e Yakh” for the remix, and nine months later Kanye used the elegant sample for Nasir standout “Adam And Eve.” Kanye added his own elements to “Adam And Eve,” and did more with the core loop, but it’s unmistakenly the same sample from The Architect’s Nas remix. In a vacuum, using the same sample — and arguably doing it better — isn’t a sin (Pusha T has said Kanye recreated beats submitted to him for Daytona), but it just seems weird when compounded with the borrowed artwork.
To this point, Architect and Nowaah aren’t making a major fuss about it, so who knows if Kanye or Nas will have to eventually acknowledge the source for the photo and “Adam And Eve.” Hip-Hop editor Aaron Williams said Nas was taking a gamble by letting Kanye produce his album, but he didn’t even mean it in this manner. We’ve reached out to The Architect for comment and will update this story if he does. In the meantime, you can listen to both tracks below and decide for yourself.