In June 2010, Fashawn released Ode To Illmatic, a mixtape that includes his reinterpretation of Nas’ 1994 album, Illmatic. Fashawn says the idea for this project came during the Fresno, California rapper’s first trip to New York.

“Everyone around me, including DJ Green Lantern at the time, would jokingly call me ‘Baby Esco’ or ‘Little Nas’ in the studio,” Fashawn says in an exclusive interview with HipHopDX. “I didn’t take it too seriously, not until Green Lantern decided to send me all ten of the instrumentals from Illmatic.”

Fashawn took the instrumentals of cuts off Illmaticwhich turns 20 next month, and began recording material for Ode To Illmatic in Venice, California, he says. Fashawn, working from Evidence’s house at the time, would split his work between The Antidote, a collaborative project released with Alchemist in 2009, and the final touches for his debut album, Boy Meets World, a collaborative album with Exile, which was also released in ’09.

“I snuck in Ode To Illmatic in that time period somehow and I’m glad that I did,” Fashawn says.

Four years after releasing Ode To Illmatic, Fashawn is preparing a follow-up to Boy Meets World with The Ecology.

“All I know is that I am excited for the world to hear it and I am very proud of what was created,” Fash says. “Glad to be working with Exile again as well. His skills have only progressed since the last album and so have mine.”

Photography By: Andres Tardio

RELATED: Fashawn Joins Kendrick Lamar On Stage, Praises “Control”