On Stillmatic, Nas aims to prove he still belongs on top of the rap game, and the December 4 release finds the author of 1996's "If I Ruled the World" taking shots at rivals trying to lay claim to the same lofty turf.
According to his spokesperson, Nas has sampled Tears for Fears' 1985 smash "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" for a song of the same title. His spokesperson said the track will probably be the first official single from Stillmatic, but it has not been finalized.
Earlier this year, Nas blasted the Roc-A-Fella Records camp on "Stillmatic," and more recently he proclaimed his prowess on the underground gem "The General." "Stillmatic" saturated underground mixtapes late in the summer, and the Swizz Beatz-produced "The General" made its way to the streets last week.
Declaring during the chorus that everyone should salute him, during the first verse Nas rhymes, "When I walk through, everything stops/ ... Babies don't cry/ Thugs don't budge/ Cops cut off sirens/ Oxygen freeze."
Swizz is one of only a few big-name producers used for the album because the Poet of Queensbridge chose to use mostly unknown beat makers, according to the spokesperson. Interestingly, Kanye West who produced Jay-Z's "Takeover," a track from The Blueprint (2001) in which Jay disses Nas said at least one of his tracks will be used on Stillmatic. Dame Grease, who produced on Nas' last LP, Nastradamus (1999), also says he plans to have some of his work on the project.
The game plan for Stillmatic was simple Nas wanted to show the world he was as "Nasty" on the mic as he was seven years ago when he debuted with the universally accepted classic, Illmatic.
Even before club-goers and fans along Jay-Z's Blueprint Lounge tour route started exclaiming along with Jigga's line "Ask Nas, he don't want it Hov!" from the barb-laden "Takeover," Nas knew he had something to prove to the hip-hop industry.
Although he's considered one of rap's greatest lyricists and his last four albums (including the Firm group project and excluding the Queensbridge's Finest compilation he executive produced) went platinum or better, Nas has found his artistic direction constantly questioned by fans, critics and peers.
One of the main reasons was because of his cocaine-smuggling musical alter ego Nas Escobar. As for the fans who are concerned that Esco will rear his reckless gunplay and champagne-sipping head on Stillmatic, Nas' spokesperson said the rapper will stick to dissecting the state of the world on his new disc.
Stillmatic was recorded in the Bahamas and New York and should be wrapped up by next week.