Nas is certainly a producer's favorite MC. The way that he drives his words,
his cadences, and overall the content matter - are all true to hip-hop of the
past, future, and present. Since Illmatic, Nas has never settled with one sound,
while some of us may have wish he had. Instead, Nas evolved to make every record
a ground-breaking effort for less or better.
This year, two budding producers attempted to remix full Nas albums. 9th Wonder,
the musical genius behind Little Brother was the first, and attempted God's
Son. 9th's successes and creativity was followed by Soul Supreme, a Boston
beatmaker who re-laced Stillmatic. Just when we thought it was done,
KMD front-man and underground super-veteran, MF Doom attacked Nastradamus.
The results of all efforts were heavy topic of conversation, and trend-setting
AllHipHop.com assembled 9th Wonder, Soul Supreme, and MF Doom to discuss God's
Son, beats and rhymes. Did the remixes work? It ain't hard to tell.
Allhiphop: 9th, I know you did this project, God's Step Son, because
you had the accapellas laying around. But beyond that, what moved you to do
9th Wonder: I learn from greats. I know that when greats do new beats, they
throw accapellas over them to see if they work. You never know the potential
of a track until [you do that]. That's how I started doing remixes. I did that
for a while. A guy by the name of DJ Bumrush brought the [Nas] accapellas to
the house on a Saturday. My mom just so happened to be down visiting me. She
came down and she cooked and I cooked, and two days later I got eleven joints
done. I didn't do the rest of those joints because I really didn't feel the
words like that. I wanted to hear a Nas record with some traditional hip-hop
on there, because he's a traditional lyricist.
Allhiphop: Soul, your approach was really different than his. You seem to pull
from a later era of soul...deeper in the 70's. How did you map out the direction
you were going to take ahead of actually getting down?
Soul Supreme: Well basically, I just wanted to make the remixes from a Soul
Supreme point of view. That means that I wanted to continue with the vibe from
"The Saturday Nite Agenda", but switch it up to fit the songs and
concepts on Stillmatic.
Allhiphop: Doom, your remix was more of a promotional item rather than selling
it on its own?
MF Doom: Actually, I was approached by Mike Pizzo from hiphopsite. And he told
me that he had blended my instrumentals with the accapellas. He was just asking
me for permission to use my beats. I didn't really do it. So I gave him permission,
just as a novelty, promotional thing. I think it came out pretty ill.
Allhiphop: Were these beats supposed to be for Little Brother or other artists?
How'd it pan out, 9th?
9th Wonder: The first joint I made the day I started working on the [project].
"Made You Look" is like two years old. "Last Real Nigga Alive"
I did that day. "Hey Nas" I had used before, but I re-freaked it.
I did it that day. "I Can", I cooked it up that day. "Book of
Rhymes", that was a Big Pooh solo joint. "Mastermind" is a beat
that was six-seven months old. "Warrior's Song" I cooked up a couple
days before that, it matched pretty well. "Thugs Mansion", I cooked
up five-six months prior. The "Ether" joint, that was a remix I had
done a while back. Only one was for Little Brother.
Allhiphop: You were the first to do this. You been doing the remix promos. This
is a huge trend now. How does that sit with you, especially with the Nas remixes
9th Wonder: We all learn from other cats. Not to say they learned from me or
whatever. But somebody had to start doing something. Who's to say that if Soul
Supreme had done it first that I would've came behind and did a Nas record.
I see it as flattery. Soul Supreme is a dope producer. MF Doom is a legend.
I don't see it as an insult or a bite, I see it as flattery.
Allhiphop: So, Soul, your remixes dropped second. I know you and 9th are cool.
But did you feel at all like you were stepping on toes?
Soul Supreme: Not really, If I was 9th I'd take it as a compliment that somebody
was biting my idea, haha.