While it may have seemed like Nas was keeping an uncharacteristically low profile since his very vocal disputes with radio stations and rival rappers earlier this summer, the Queensbridge MC was, in fact, silent but not sleeping.
Nas announced on Monday (August 12) that he'll be releasing a new album, called God's Son, on November 19.
While the album's final tracks have not been selected, the former Nasty Nas has been recording with Large Professor (one of the trackmasters who worked on his debut album, Illmatic), as well as Alchemist and Murder Inc.'s Irv Gotti.
And speaking of Gotti, does his involvement in God's Son mean it's true that Nas is now part of the Murder Inc. family? Well, on the one hand, there is a street-leaked song which features Nas claiming allegiance to "the I.N.C." (see "Nas Kills The Speculation: 'It's Murder!' "), but at the same time, Nas' latest statement details that his new album will be released on Ill Will/Columbia Records, with no mention of any Murder Inc. signing at all.
So, if he is or if he will be, it's still hard to tell. Nas did, however, squash any rumors that he is leaving Columbia Records, stating, "I've always had a great relationship with Columbia and look forward to making records with them for the rest of my career."
However, when it comes to last week's pay-per-view challenge issued by rival Jay-Z on New York's radio waves (see "Jay-Z Challenges Nas To Pay-Per-View Battle During Radio Takeover"), Nas had a far more direct response: "Pay-per-view is for wrestlers and boxers. I make records. If Jay-Z wants to battle, he should drop his album the same day I do and let the people decide."
As of last week, Jay's The Blueprint 2: The Gift and the Curse was scheduled for release on November 5, two weeks before Nas' LP is set to drop.
For a history of the beef between Jay-Z and Nas, check out "Nas And Jay-Z: Grade-A Beef."
For a full-length feature on Murder Inc., see "Murder Inc.: In Gotti We Trust."