Celebrating his old music inspired Nas to get back into the studio and crank out some new material. God’s Son confirmed that he is working on a new album, and it was the 20th anniversary of his Illmatic debut that pushed him back into a creative space.
The Queens MC started work on the new project with Timbaland in 2012, he revealed to NPR. “I started working with Tim, I want to say a year and a half ago. I think it was the same year I dropped my last album, Life Is Good,” he said. “It felt really powerful; it felt like it was really powerful, and I stepped back from it. Tim’s like, ‘What are you doing?’ and I’m like, ‘I just need a minute to — I just need a minute to take it all in, just live a little and enjoy day-by-day stuff and daily stuff I’m doing.’ It’s just — I didn’t want to go back in the studio that quick. I felt like I needed to be inspired.”
It wasn’t until this year that his music impulse was reignited. Besides hitting the road to commemorate Illmatic and an anniversary-edition LP of the 1994 release, Nas helped premiere the documentary Time Is Illmatic at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City last week. Watching the film helped him get back into the swing of things.
“It wasn’t ’til then that I really started to feel it. ‘Cause I got a chance — and I gotta give credit to the documentary guys,” shared the 40-year-old. “Them showing me the footage and stuff really like — it really lets you know where you come from and everything, and where you at now. I salute them dudes, man — One9, Erik Parker, the whole crew over there that’s put that film together — because that’s helped me find the inspiration. I found it.”
In addition to Timbo, producers Swizz Beatz and No I.D. are helping on Nas’s musical journey. Although he didn’t narrow down a date, Mr. Jones said that he’s “charged” up to create again. “Two years I think it’s been, since my last album. So this new one … I’m happy to get it together and get it out there,” he said.
As of February 2013, Life Is Good sold 354,000 copies and Illmatic has seen a reprisal on the Billboard charts this week. The 20-year-old record pushed 14,987 copies this week, giving it an 844 percent bump from the week before.