Nas Reflects On His Debut LP ‘Illmatic,’ Working With Q-Tip and DJ Premier


Vibe | August 17, 2011 - 7:29 pm

As he gears up for one of the most anticipated performances of the year at Rock The Bells ’11 hip-hop festival, Nas takes some time and reflects back on his critically acclaimed ’94 debut, Illmatic. Esco starts the interview by speaking on the recording process with all his friends in the studio with him, witnessing the greatness that was manifesting.

”I didn’t know executives, Hollywood actors, superstar rappers,” the Queens rapper explained. “Everyone that I shouted out was the crew.”

Shining light on the legendary DJ Premier, who was a vital aspect to the production on the debut effort. He said the Gang Starr producer/DJ shared similar character traits with him and Nas soaked up musical wisdom as the two searched through various records.

“We sat down, he played me records, he opened up his crates to me,” added Nas. “He let me play them on the turntables, let me play things that I like.”

The interview wrapped with Nas speaking on his Q-Tip-produced track, “One Love,” which was originally had a different blueprint.

“When Q-Tip first gave me the beat, he had this idea, it was called ‘Summer Vacation’,” Nas revealed. The original idea behind the track was suppose to be about a summer trip and a letter telling a school classroom what happened during the season. “It wasn’t ‘Summer Vacation,” but it was about something else that Q-Tip could relate to, Nas told Fuse.

Nas will start the Rock the Bells tour in Los Angeles on August 20 and San Francisco on August 27. He returns to his hometown of New York on September 3. --Shabazz