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Exclusive Video: Nas Shares His Passion For Hip-Hop Cassettes

Rapper recalls the importance of tapes in '80s hip-hop culture

January 18, 2011 9:00 AM ET

In this short film produced for TDK Life on Record's Chronicles series, Nas discusses his passion for cassettes. The rapper reminisces about his long-gone tape collection, explains the importance of cassettes in early hip-hop culture and recalls the art of recording songs off the radio. His deep love of the medium and the music comes through in every moment, most especially when he talks about the '80s rap legends who inspired him to become one of the most acclaimed emcees of the '90s.

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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