Arguably the greatest rapper to ever live, Nas, probably could have anyone record on one of his songs, if only he asked them.
Probably… Maybe… Perhaps… But not everyone.
While he has joints with everyone from Lauryn Hill to JAY-Z to Mary J. Blige to Dr. Dre, his star status and industry muscle could not secure for him a feature from Prince. After appearing on N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN’s hit show, Drink Champs, Nas shared how Prince while rejecting his offer, actually put him on game.
The two old Queens friends were talking shop on the popular podcast- vibing off the genius of Nas’ new record, The Lost Tapes 2.
Nas mentioned that there were no features on this album because he wanted to later produce another in the TLT series that will have guests artists.
N.O.R.E. said, “So no one ever fronted on you?” This was in regards to hopping on a track.
Nas tells N.O.R.E. “I got it… Prince. Rest in Peace, Prince.”
N.O.R.E. and crew replied with cheers and then a joke, “Soon as you said ‘Prince’ everything got purple in here.”
Nas revealed, “I saw him. He came to my ‘I Am’ album release party and… Prince is Prince.”
N.O.R.E. “Was he floating?”
Nas replied, “Yes, he was.”
The two joked about the Prince and referenced a lady he had with him, and if it was one of his famed love interest from the past (Vanity or Apollonia).
Nas tries to stay focus (N.O.R.E. cracks jokes the entire time) and said, “I pulled a N.O.R.E. move. I said, ‘Yo look man… let’s do this song.’ and he said, ‘Do you own your masters?'”
Prince and his team (lead by his then manager, attorney and current The Source owner and publisher L. Londell McMillan) broke historic boundaries for artists by fighting to own their own masters. Labels have (and continue) to exploit talented artists eager to get on by locking them into deals that deny them the lion share of their artistry.
Nas was one of them. He continued, “But he blew my sh*t because I was ‘I don’t and I am far from it because I owe these labels four or five albums.”
He said, ” I was like ‘DAMN! He dropped a jewel. He kind of helped me see the future. He said to me ‘when you own your masters give me a ring.”
According to Mr. Illmatic, Prince was cool. He even invited him to perform with him during some of his concerts.
We would have loved to hear that one.