For the last two years, Nas has focused on working and touring with Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, but the New York MC has begun laying down tracks for his tenth studio album, and the rapper says the record will be stylistic shift from his 2008 untitled LP, and feature collabs with new faces like Odd Future’s Frank Ocean.
“The last record I did, I was in a different place than I am now,” he told Billboard, referring to clashes with his label over his proposed title (the N word) and the stark racial and political content of its songs. “It’s free flowing… I’m just flowing.”
Nas adds that he’s been inspired by up-and-comers like Drake and Odd Future and the emergence of those new voices has pushed Nas, one of the greatest rappers of the last two decades, to up his game. “I just love what’s happening [in rap],” he says. “It threatens my position or makes me question what I’m going to do next. What impact do I want to have being in the business this long? It’s a challenge… scary, even.”
Nas is planning to record plenty of collaborations, and while he hasn’t revealed details about who will appear on the CD or when it will be released, he has confirmed that he will work with Odd Future’s Frank Ocean for a song. “Frank Ocean…he’s a new gust of wind,” he says. “He’s young, he has so much to give the world…He just has so many great ideas.”
Overall, Nas admits he over-thought his last album, and he doesn’t want to make the same mistakes with this LP. “I don’t want to be like that on this record,” he said. “I want to be able to play this record after it’s done and be like, ‘I did it.’ I have to do something that feels right, and that it could last.”