Nas Talks "Ether," Reuniting With Dr. Dre On "Hustlers"

Nasty Nas says he hasn't ever discussed "Ether" with Hov and why '06s "Hustlers" almost didn't even happen.

XXL recently caught up with Nas to commemorate the respective ten and five year anniversaries of his albums Stillmatic and Hip Hop Is Dead. During the interview, the Queensbridge vet recalled the making of one of Stillmatic's most notorious songs "Ether," which found Nasty Nas taking shots at then-enemy Jay-Z. Nas explained that he hasn't ever actually discussed the vicious diss track with his now-friend and frequent collaborator, but did say he feels there's an implicit mutual respect between the two New York titans and a desire to move forward in life without conflict.

"I think right now anybody who’s made it from the ’80s era, the ’90s, got into Hip Hop and still stickin’ around and still here, still feelin’ great about life…I think that’s enough," he explained. "I think anybody today, any peer of mine is just appreciative of the life that we’ve made for ourselves. We didn’t know anything. We didn’t know that this was gonna be the outcome, that we’d be around at this time doing what we’re doin’. I think everybody’s just on that page."

Nas also spoke on reuniting with Dr. Dre on the song "Hustlers" off 2006's acclaimed Hip Hop Is Dead. Nas explained he had hounded the Comtpon producer and "Nas Is Coming" partner, and even added that the song's featured emcee Game almost didn't even appear on the track due to timing issues with the Good Doctor.

"I just had to hound my man [Dr. Dre for the song], you know what I mean? Once he opened up, he had a moment. I jumped right in there. I flew right in, got in the studio. [I'm] always excited to see him in the studio," he said. "[Game's verse] almost didn’t happen, but again, [it was due to] hounding Dre. Staying on him, staying on him, staying on him. 'Come on, I need this.' You know, [I] stayed on him...[the reason Game almost didn't appear] was just, we wasn’t gettin’ any response [from Dre]. We needed a mix and master the song, so we wasn’t gettin’ any response on anything. We had to stay on him. [Dre]’s a busy man."

RELATED: It Was Written: Nas' Odd Relationship With God Presented In His Lyrics



  • Walt

    Win a Nas-Stillmatic Contest available on wwliradio Contest section Answer the questions and the CD is yours.

  • Anonymous

    nas is truely the greatest ever to touch a mic, and if you can't see this you are in denial,

  • Anonymous

    Jay used to be a God mc, but turned to complete shit after "Ammerican Gangster". Never was on Nas level though, it was actually a great atempt for the crown with "Takeover", but Nas came back and burried that with superior lyricism, point blank it was a clear victory for nas. But Jay had a better catalogue at that point in time.

    • Anonymous

      lol didn't listen to ether properly

    • Naah

      This is ridiculous. You might have a point about Nas being the better rapper, but to say he came back with superior lyricism is beyond stanning. You call that piss poor, underwhelming shit on Ether lyricism? SMH. Outplayed insults make up for a lack of good punchlines/wordplay and facts now? Takeover ain't the best diss track, but it was straight facts that resulted into Nas' complete turnover. Don't try to rewrite history here.

    • Swordz

      Complete shit is a bit tough. Jay first album was deep - then he went rap-pop and sold out - and came back to deep subject matter on Blueprint. Nas is an artist's artist. His album have all had a purpose (barr lost tapes) Personally they both GOATs for different reasons. But ether > any of the jay dis records. Hands down.

  • Its Um

    Dre didn't give him a great beat, that track had a skip on there, when I heard I thought I had a scratch on the cd but no it was suppose to sound like that. Get tracks from hi-tek, 9th wonder, hell seek Kno out he gots the goods.

  • reatalk

    Nas is mature and too humble for the weak minded. While you weak minded still debate about who won, who told jokes or who told the truth Nas and Jay-z are living a life of SUCCESS and have moved on to better things in life. Damn near 11 years later and this debate is still a topic. Nas expressed in this interview that they have better things to do than to discuss ETHER but yet the weak minded due to their own lack of achievements want to keep this old ass beef alive in their heads...GTFO!

  • K.o.D

    The title of the best diss record is easily hanging between "Ether" and "Hit Em Up" IMO.

  • realhiphop

    Anonymous: if feel you bro but he did it to show he can do what these other rappers do and they can't do what he do listen to his interviews he made theirs theme to shake off his fake fan what other rapper does that bro Idk

    • Anonymous

      of course you've the right to your own opinion but i think its for the simple fact, he wanted to get paid. that's how i see it.

  • Swordz

    IMO - Nas' worst album is Street's Disciple - it was tooo long and had some weak production in parts. Nastradumus & Hiphop Is Dead are Nas' most underrated albums. Either is easily the best diss record of all time.

    • Anonymous

      Nastradamus and I Am had good lyrics, but the production was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyy too polished for the content and destroyed otherwise good albums.

    • Swordz

      Nah - listen to Nastradamus again - it's all knowledge. I get it seemed corny at the time - but go back and listen - it's a solid album.

    • The MG

      I liked Street's Disciple. I found nothing wrong with the production on there. The beats fit perfectly with the overall tones and themes of the album. I feel Nastradamus is his weakest album. It was just a bad attempt at trying to go mainstream, but it did have its moments though.


      There's no I in Ether, homie. I'm just saying...

  • Realhiphop

    Not facts merely opinions bro selling albums don't make you an Ill MC ( soldier boy, waka flaka, lil Wayne, wiz kalifa, guccie man,an all the rest of those cornball rappers out there) about raw talent not making commercial songs to sell units (jay-z) it's about staying true to yourself (Nas) don't get me wrong I mess with jay but he's just a rapper while Nas is a rap artist (real language)

    • Special Ed

      One thing to appreciate about Nas is that he learned, and learned quickly... He was on the path of destruction just before that double album he was planning (that turned out to be I am... and Nastradamus)... Jay has always been focused and tactical, every move he makes is well calculated... That's what appreciable about Jigga... Until of course he saw the opportunity to take Nas' spot... It would've worked too, but like Ali Vs Foreman, Jigga (and the rest of us, and I'm sure Nas too) didn't expect 'Ether' to be what is was... Here are a few opinions about Nas and Jay that we should all remember: 1. Nas would be dead today had he released the double album he was planning after 'It was written', that album would have been the biggest ever album in hip hop history, would have sparked jealousy, which would've had Nas killed 2. Jay would've never been a legend had he not gone for Nas in what was 'Takeover'... He would've remained an average Mcee on a constant hustle (think Busta Rhymes) 3. Before StillMATIC, Nas was the most inconsistent dude out there, from changing monikers, to constantly changing crew members, Jay on the other hand, did use a lot of his connections to solidify himself more, and did keep that JIGGA/HIVA moniker since the beginning... 4. Hip hop is about two separate things, Lyricism (the artform), and braggadoccio (the fun)... Jay is king of one, and Nas is king of the other... The two are coexisting perfectly, and that is why that Collabo Nas/Jay album needs to drop faaaast Hip hop was revitalized by Nas winning that battle, and got a breath of fresh air when Jay signed Nas (not forgetting 'success' on American Gangster)... In the end, these guys do all these things for us, the fans... Can we please just move past discussing who's better than the other and just admit that just like the Greek Gods, these guys run different realms of Hip hop??

    • Anonymous

      What??? We're saying Nas didn't try to sell-out now? I've never seen a more denial post.

    • Anonymous

      @viewtiful what i'm saying is nas went on his whole esco kick and went that "mafioso" rap that everyone else was doing. but he saw nobody liked him like that and went back to more of the nas from "illmatic". that's what i'm saying. i honestly don't know what makes him more "real" than jay-z. just like jay, he has had beef w/ almost everyone he has worked w/. and like i said b4, jay has always let it be known he's strictly about the money. not 1 album street poet and next album, the the don.

    • Viewtiful Jaybo

      i disagree anonymous, flossin dont make you real. nas got alot of knowledge, since the beginning of his career. he got a versatile and consistent flow so he will never get boring and cliche. money dont make rappers, rappers make money.

    • Anonymous

      nas isn't as "real" as everyone makes him out to be. he tried to do the flossing thing and he just didn't have the swag to pull it off. so even tho i think he got hov in the battle i hate how ppl act like he's always been true to himself. i think jay has been more real bcos he's ALWAYS admitted he's about the money.

  • Realhiphop

    To everyone who said jay won the battle is just foolish when jay even said no one can tough me sept NAS but I gor stronger after either and the idiot who said nastadomas an I am was weak he freestyled those albums cuz the double cd "I am nastadomas" was leaked go back and listen to the I bet your will nod off you shoulders (classics) do the knowledge before you talk crazy Nas = G.O.A.T "WORD"

  • Azhar

    I know a may be in the minority, but i think: Takeover > Ether BluePrint2 > Ether Super Ugly > Ether Jay was spittin facts in all the songs, and while Ether's beat was crazy, Nas was just talkin and snappin on Hov, wasn't really spittin no facts, KRS-1 said about battlin, the rapper that can spit the most facts in a dis while, not comin across corny usually wins and I agree with that, I think people give Nas credit to this day because he stood up to the bully (Hov), I'm a fan of both artist, but I urge people to really listen to the songs from the both of them and then explain how can Nas win Hov was spittin nothing but facts about Nas and his career. Again having said all of that, Nas and Hov are still top 5 dead or alive in my book........

    • Willy

      Last Real Nigga Alive > All of Jay-Z's diss tracks AND Ether. At the time of the beef I was un-aware of the whole scenario. Being that I live in Seattle, there is no New York beef talk on the radio. I heard The Takeover after copping the Blueprint (Because of Renegade BTW). And remember thinking "What the fuck is this about? Jay-Z going at Nas!?" I was surprised. Then I heard Ether and thought "Well Nas took that round." I was and still am an un-biased opinion, and feel that Ether was a far superior diss track then Takeover. As for "facts". How can you state that The Takeover was completely factual? Serch said himself that Jay-Z wasn't paying him for the sample... How can Jay-Z's opinions on Nas' album consistency be factual? Because you agree with him? I prefer Nas' discography over Jay-Z's. And NUMEROUS "heads" agree with Nas that Eminem killed Jay-Z on Renegade... Wouldn't that make that line in Ether factual? Because people agree with it?

    • Realhiphop

      Not facts merely opinions bro selling albums don't make you an Ill MC ( soldier boy, waka flaka, lil Wayne, wiz kalifa, guccie man,an all the rest of those cornball rappers out there) about raw talent not making commercial songs to sell units (jay-z) it's about staying true to yourself (Nas) don't get me wrong I mess with jay but he's just a rapper while Nas is a rap artist (real language)

    • Swordz

      Listen to Either again. You're wrong bro. But opinions are just that opinions

    • huh?

      nas was spittin facts, what r u talkin about? jay z is the 40 something year old who still raps about selling crack, get the fuck outta here with that bullshit that old man needs to file for social security

  • Anonymous

    saying jay-z is less of a rapper bcos he lost the battle to nas is like saying charles barkley is garbage bcos he lost to jordan. i would understand if jay-z lost to a battle to Game or someone but there's nothing wrong w/ getting "ethered" by the best

    • Anonymous

      Nas could never be Ali. Comparing Greatest to Greatest, Nas is someone who we all like to remember but where anyone knows he ain't the GOAT.

    • Anonymous

      i'm the fool but that's not how you spell "analagy". lol. dumb ass.

    • ur face is irrelevent

      i know basketball its a team sport fool not 1 on 1, so ur analagy sucks, a better analogy would be boxing 1 on 1 battle nas is muhammed ali jay can be rocky marciano haha

    • ahh ha

      u sound like a sour puss suns fan get over it bitch

    • Anonymous

      if you think barkley is garbage. a 6'4 pf who average 22 and 12, you don't know basketball and therefore your opinion is irrelevant.

    • haha barkley comparison

      barkley is garbage he has no ringsssssss

    • comachonvargas

      ^^^^ Second that 100%. In fact, if it wasn't for Jay challenging Nas, we might have never known how great Nas really is. Props to Jay for that. Though he really did get torched pretty hard. LOL

  • Anonymous

    lol. look at all you fools arguing over this rap battle that the 2 of them have gotten over a LONG time ago. i was looking at pics of Nas' bday party from earlier this yr and him and Hov looked like best of friends. hilarious

  • Anonymous

    I think its funny how 10 years later people are saying jay-z won that battle when back when it happened it was unanimous that nas won. Why is that because about a year ago jay-z told everyone that if people look back at it he won, just like he told yall back in the day that he was the best rapper alive which is debatable then lil wayne told everyone he was the best rapper alive n took over the game,smh. Both nas n jay-z have 2 classic albums, what seperates them is jay-z has more pop(he has some hustler music too) music n nas has more concsious music so its a matter of taste but there is many simpletons and ho's that are going to listen to the club music first.

  • Anonymous

    i dont think jay-z likes nas whens the last they did a track together what 07?

    • and...

      Nas is too scared to do a track with Eminem on his own, because he knows he can't keep up. Jay was outshined by an ALL TIME GREAT performance, Nas was destroyed by the likes of Bravehearts, Game and Jeezy.

    • and...

      eminem murdered jay on his own track, and jay did his verse after ems was already done, what a bitch

    • DK

      Jay murdered him on two tracks, there's no purpose in doing it again.

    • Anonymous

      How many albums did Jay had after American Gangster? 1. (Don't count WTT) How many albums did Nas had? 1. Not to mention that Blueprint 3 already had to many features (and was garbage). They already did have 3 songs and you can't always make the same. Look at Jay-Z's relationship with Eminem, they alread made a tour together and still there's only one track where they both rap (though Em produced a couple of tracks for Jay-Z)

  • Gay Pride

    ZOMG! I'm in love with Nasir Jones. Marry me in New York now Gay Marriages are legal!

  • Anonymous

    Black Republican is the most epic track I've ever heard. Somebody needs to lock Jay and Nas in a studio with beats by Premier, RZA, Kanye and Pete Rock.

  • Anonymous

    Hip Hop Is Dead been his most underrated album.

  • JoJoe

    Without Game the song wouldn't be the same !

  • jerryed

    It was close back in the day but Jay-z has sold out to sell records and he really isn't even good anymore. Blueprint 3 and watch the throne are not what one of the greatest rappers alive would put out. Nas just released Nasty which shows he is the best lyricist in the game right now hands down. I think Nas realize he wont sell much more if he goes commercial and hell always sell a couple hundred thousand if stays true to what real rap fans have come to love from him

    • ETK

      co-sign... like him or not, Jay-Z has it made... he don't need to go hard anymore.. Nas still has to grind hard to keep the "best rapper alive" quota up

    • daviddanielz

      You guys clearly don't know hip-hop or music for that matter. Jay doesn't need to continue to make the same records anymore. He's past that, he can do whatever he wants from now on in. His resume is un-matchable.

  • Robizle

    Jay has like 20 albums noone know about... wayned been out for years and didnt pop off till the last few. Im wondering why alot of these real MCs let alll these scrubs in the door. Guess homos are takin over. Nas is a beast and i hope he never turns bitch like the rest of em.....

    • ?

      I don't understand how Wayne can actually see himself as one of the all-time greats. i like some of his songs and think he can spit, but none, and i mean NONE of his albums will ever be able to be mentioned with the likes of Nas', Jay-Z's, Biggie's, 2pac's, Snoop Dogg's, Dr. Dre's, and others most classic albums. He can rap but he doesn't say shit, he just does a whole bunch of flexin and doesn't drop music that really connects with the audience like the aforementioned artists' music did. Wayne will be remembered more for his off-the-wall fashion sense, fake Bloodin', kissing Baby on the lips, and all other kinds of bullshit more than his music.

    • daviddanielz

      Again a young fan of hip-hop who doesn't know his history. Go back and see Jay-Z albums. All of his albums went number 1. All albums did well. Some even say his first album was his best and your gonna compare him to wayne!!! Are you kidding me?! Wayne is no where on Jay-Z level. He couldn't sell 200k copies his first couple of albums. The guy is faker then Ja Rule. One min he sports crip colors then he makes it big and sports blood colors. Tells everyone he killed someone and asked his mom if he could do it and she said she wanted to do it. Are you young cats kidding me with this guy? Don't compare someone who lived a real life with someone who made one up.

    • Anonymous

      What did he do on I Am and Nastradamus then? Synth beats, forced controversy, horrible hooks, dumbed down and ignorant lyrics, popular features and his worst flow. He basically wanted to be a rapper he's not. But yeah, let's act like Nas faults don't exist.

  • Jerry Sandusky

    Jerry Sandusky is one sexy motherfucker. Also, Nas >>>>> Gay-Z

  • Anonymous

    U know wats funny to all the Bitch Ass Trolls out there on dis site ranging from SOicyBoi to Yadig and SupperGucciTime noone gives a shit about ur shitty input. Also Everyone know Nas raped Jay-Z in their beef.

  • bigfoot89

    Nas is one of the smartest and most mature rappers ever. Everyone knows he tore Jay to pieces but doesn't want to dwell on it nor carry on with it because he knows it's pointless to beef when 2Pac and Biggie got killed over it. Kinda wish he had something to say about Life is Good though, still waiting patiently for that shit.

    • ?

      2pac and Biggie were murdered by the government, 2pac because they knew he was going to be a problem in the future and Biggie just to make it look like it was in retaliation. i still don't get how people still haven't figured this out.

    • Jason

      To everyone who is saying Nas songs about Jay-Z weren't factual are dead wrong. Do your homework. Jay-Z actually admitted Nas' Ether track has harder than his own diss tracks. However that rap battle was great, both artists were talking realness, so stop being Nas & Jay-Z stans and talk facts. Nas and Jay-Z are top five lyrically end of discussion. On the real though, Nas' verse on the Success track murdered Jay's verses, on Black Republican both of them killed it and on Luda's I do it for hip hop, Nas' metaphors killed it, Jay's storytelling killed it. Why can't people appreciate Nas and Jay without being stans of either one? I'm out.

    • daviddanielz

      Your wrong: Jay killed Nas in one verse! One verse! Nas had two songs coming at Jay and they weren't factual. Everything Jay said was true so Im sorry but Jay won, not Nas...

    • Anonymous

      It's on the shelf.

  • illy

    NAS THE GOAT ether is one of the greatest diss song shit on jay

  • Anonymous

    you are all a bunch of children on this site.





  • Wow

    Jay-Z destroyed Nas's wackass with Takeover.

  • Er

    Nas isn't even the G.O.A.T. Everyone knows that title belongs to Lil Wayne or Drake.

  • Soulja Boy Rocks

    Soulja Boy would murk Nas in battle.

  • Jk

    Nas has to be the wackest rapper to pick up the mic.

  • Nas Sucks

    Nas is the worst rapper of all time.

  • Anonymous

    am i the only one who knows he's being sarcastic?

  • SuperGucciRap

    If anything Gucci Mane murked or "Ethered" Nas so many times in his career it's not even funny. Every rapper knows that Gucci Mane influences more icons than Nas will ever be noticed. In fact, outside of the internet, I never met one guy who listens to Nas on a regular basis. They have some songs on their iPods but they are hardly listened to and no one cares for them. As a Boston native growing in Southern California, it's the truth. I hear Jay-Z, Eminem, Kanye, Lil Wayne, Drake, Rick Ross, T.I., 2pac even Wiz Khalifa or Mac Miller but no praise for Nas. Why? Only New Yorkers stuck in the 90s even listen to Nas. Fuck Nas anyways. He's just some illuminati puppet that dumbass people believe he is the Messiah of rap music. Listen to Real Hip-Hop Like Gucci Mane and Justin Bieber. It's Gucci Time!

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