It's like Shaq and Kobe moving next door to each other, or George Bush and Al Gore going on a fishing trip together. After years of verbal jousting followed by a shocking public truce, bitter rivals Jay-Z and Nas have sealed their peace with a recording deal.
According to The New York Times, the long-rumored deal bringing Nas to the Jay-Z-led Def Jam Recordings label has been completed, turning the former foes into business partners. Though Sony and Def Jam representatives would not comment on the story, the Times quoted unnamed sources describing a scheme that would have Nas' longtime label, Sony Music, and Def Jam split the profits, or any losses, from Nas' next two albums.
The Times reports that Jay-Z has agreed to have his label pay the cost of producing and marketing the albums and then divide the profits with Sony after expenses are recovered. The labels will work together to plan and execute the marketing campaigns for the records. The deal pays Nas around $3 million, including a recording budget, for each of the two albums, and has a clause providing for two additional albums for Def Jam.
The deal comes three months after the rappers staged one of the most surprising public truces in the history of hip-hop and sets the stage for Nas' next album to potentially include the first significant collaboration between the two rap legends (see "Jay-Z And Nas Put Beef To Sleep In Onstage Show Of Unity").
On October 27, Jay-Z headlined the Power 105.1 "Powerhouse 2005: Operation Takeover" show at the Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey, dubbing his portion of the gig "I Declare War" (see " 'I Declare War!' Jay-Z Says He's Going To Air Some Rappers Out Onstage"). But instead of blasting his rival as expected — and as he did four years earlier at a Hot 97 concert that kicked off his beef with Nas — Jigga announced, "All that beef sh-- is done, we had our fun. ... Let's get this money," and called Nas onstage to perform with him.
For Nas' thoughts on working with Jay-Z, see the feature "Nas: Major Figure."