For the past few months, Nas has appeared to be in a strictly nostalgic mode.
With 'Illmatic' reaching 20, the hip hop icon took part in an expansive re-issue process while also contributing to the 'Time Is Illmatic' film.
Now, the rapper has broken cover to reveal that he has been working on new material with Timbaland. Speaking to NPR, Nas claimed that sessions began almost immediately after 2012's 'Life Is Good'.
"I started working with (Timbaland), I want to say a year and a half ago," he said. "I think it was the same year I dropped my last album, 'Life is Good', (in 2012). I started with Tim and it felt really powerful."
Yet sessions soon drew to a halt. "I stepped back from it... Tim's like, 'What are you doing?' and I'm like, 'I just need a minute to like ‒ 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."
Continuing, Nas explained that it was actually the process of looking back at 'Illmatic' - in particular the 'Time Is Illmatic' documentary - which jumpstarted the creative process. "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."
"I jumpstarted the album again ‒ the new one. Now I'm at a place where I could play a song for somebody and they really get it and they really understand ‒ they really feel it. At first I didn't, so I'm happy to say I'm at a place where it feels right. I talked to Swizz, and we went through joints. And No I.D. and Timbaland, you know. This the only interview I'ma talk about it, 'cause I know once this comes out, people might ask me about the record and, man, I just want to finish it and get it done."
Photo Credit: Danny Clinch