After the disappointing reception of last year’s Nasir, Nas really needed a win. Therefore, the rap legend returned to the well of one of his greatest musical triumphs, 2002’s The Lost Tapes, for a spiritual sequel, The Lost Tapes 2, which Nas teased earlier this month. Now, the first single has arrived and it looks like, if nothing else, The Lost Tapes 2 will prove that the rap vet is willing to experiment with his sound, even if he doesn’t seem particularly interested in “saving” hip-hop anymore. “Jarreau Of Rap (Skatt Attack)” is a freewheeling, abstract homage to the jazz legend from which it takes its title, finding Nas’ flow chasing unusual pockets in an unconventional beat.
Xharlie Black & Eddie Cole produced the beat, which builds on a frenetic piano loop and grows into a lush, orchestral arrangement then a jazz breakdown as Nas traipses along lyrically, showcasing one of the most unusual cadences he’s ever employed. Given the original Lost Tapes drew its songs from the recording sessions for I Am… and Nastradamus and the jazzy inflections throughout the beat, it’s probably a safe bet that Nas recorded his sometime around the release of Street’s Disciple, on which he similarly explored collaborations with jazz musicians, most notably his own father Olu Dara on the lead single, “Bridging The Gap.”
Nas hits the road with Mary J. Blige later this year after the release of The Lost Tapes 2, which drops next week, July 19.