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Nas Causes a Commotion

Nas confuses the issues with regard to “I Am”

Nas doesn’t have much to say about his forthcoming album, I
Am
, and what he does volunteer isn’t altogether coherent. In
contrast to garrulous rappers like Busta Rhymes and Method Man, and
erudite ones like KRS-One and Chuck D, Nas is rather soft-spoken
and completely, but harmlessly, contradictory — often in the same
sentence.

“It hasn’t changed much, my views on things,” says the
twenty-five-year-old Nas (ne Nasir Jones), regarding his focus on
this album as opposed to the previous two. “The music goal is
always constantly changing. It’s just a lot of things been
changing. All types of things.”

While that confusing thought resonates, there’s also the issue of
the letter “I,” which has begun the title of 1994’s
Illmatic, 1996’s It Was Written and now I
Am
, due out Feb. 23. “It [the letter “I”] is significant, but
it wasn’t planned to be,” he says by way of explanation. “It’s just
my two favorite words [“I” and “am”]. It’s just to say I wanna make
history. That’s all it means. I wanna go down in history.”

Better just stick to the basics, like what rappers guest on I
Am
. There’s Aaliyah guesting on the possible first single “You
Won’t See Me Tonight,” Scarface sharing the mic with Nas on “Favor
For a Favor” and da dogg of ’98 DMX paying respects on “Life Is
What You Make of It.” “That’s just my nigga right there,” says Nas
regarding DMX. “You know what I mean? We had to do it up like that.
He came through and blessed me.” Reports that Nas’ father Olu Dara
teamed with his son for a track are unfounded, though they may drop
something in the near future. “We’re planning on recording some
shit,” Nas says. “Just not yet.”

After I Am is released and undoubtedly debuts at No. 1 on
the SoundScan chart — like It Was Written, which to date
has sold 1.8 million copies — Nas plans to hit the road for an
international hip-hop package tour, though specifics are unclear.
What is clear is that Nas wants to release another album by the end
of the year and has already begun recording it, and has additional
producing responsibilities for albums from Braveheart and the Firm
contributor Nature, among other projects.

Like most rappers, Nas has his sights on a film career as well,
having already appeared in Hype Williams’ Belly (released
last November) alongside actor/MCs like Method Man, DMX and T-Boz
of TLC. Later this year, Nas will make another attempt at the big
screen in typically clandestine fashion. “Next one will be in the
works this fall,” he says. “Maybe something I wrote, something I
collaborated on, but it’ll be something.”

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