Nas Recalls Linking With Q-Tip For "One Love" Via Large Professor

Nas says "Illmatic" was one of the first albums to include contributions from producers who weren't in-house.

On the month of the 20th anniversary of the release of Nas’ debut album Illmatic, the Queensbridge rapper appeared on BBC Radio 1 to discuss the much-celebrated LP.

Nas first touched on what the atmosphere was like in New York City as he was recording his debut, which was released in 1994. He says the city was picking itself up from what he referred to as “the roaring ‘80s” and soon welcomed an influx of drugs, weapons, and new politicians.

“We were recovering from the roaring ‘80s. The ‘80s was action-packed,” Nas said. “The police were trying to figure out the city. They got a hold on the city better than they had in the ‘70s. Cause I used to hear wild stories about the ‘70s. I was born in ’73. I remember it just slightly. But it was a different place from 42nd Street Times Square to the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Harlem. By the time the ‘80s hit with crack and all the—the Nike, and Nike was becoming Nike around then. Adidas was becoming Adidas around then. Just from brands to the economy in New York was really bad. And just getting better in the ‘80s. So, they had this big, big boom of the influx of drugs, semi-automatic weapons, new kind of politicians.”

Among the artists who lent their assistance on Illmatic were DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Large Professor, and A Tribe Called Quest emcee, Q-Tip. Nas referred to the group of producers/emcees he worked with on Illmatic as “a dream team” and expressed his appreciation for their assistance on the album during his interview with BBC Radio 1.

“It’s my first album, man, and I had a dream team of those guys,” he said. “L.E.S. is from my neighborhood. He’s a friend from around the way. So, he was not even in the game. And I was happy they was not mad that he was on the album. Because to have those guys, the guy behind Tribe Called Quest. You know? And again, all the albums back then were produced inside the camp, in-house kind of projects…So, albums like this in rap were never done before. Especially with a new guy. So, here I am this new guy and I get to have Q-Tip, Premier, and Pete Rock all on my album? On my first album? It was like—And no one had seen nothing like it before. So, I can’t tell you how lucky I was then and how lucky I am now that I was able to get them.”

In honor of the upcoming Illmatic anniversary, Nas appeared on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” to perform both “One Love” and “The World Is Yours” alongside The Roots and Q-Tip. Prior to last night’s performance, Nas spoke on the creation of the Q-Tip-produced “One Love,” which he says was orchestrated by Large Professor.

“Well, Large Professor was the guy I knew,” he said. “He was the one that was putting me in touch with all of those guys. They were friends of his already. Cause he was already in the game and he saw us and everything. So, they already had relationships. So, what I told him, I said ‘Yo, I really wanna work with Q-Tip. You think he’ll do it?’ And he said ‘Yo, Tip’s a cool brother, man. I’m gonna introduce y’all.’ So, I was like ‘Alright cool.’ So, it just was a matter of time of whenever Large Professor was ready to make that meeting. And when he made it happen he brought me to Tip’s crib and Tip already had the idea for me. He had ‘One Love’ and he played it for me…So, I wrote that song just the way life really was. Writing your friends in prison.”

To pay tribute to Illmatic on its 20th anniversary, Nas is slated to release illmaticXX, a 20th anniversary edition of his debut. The album is scheduled for release on April 15 and will include unreleased remixes to the original cuts on the album, unreleased versions of "I'm A Villain," and audio from Nas' appearance on The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show from 1993.

RELATED: Nas' "Illmatic" Explored In "Time Is Illmatic" Documentary



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  • Anonymous

    nas the greatest hands down. nyc stand up

  • kennyken

    I wonder why he won't call tip in for some beats now. or pete rock, these guys are still hell on the boards, even better than they were in the 90's. A pharrell beat or two. And Salaam Remi, his in-house guy. He'd have an album that would blow up, then make a good video. Nas doesn't care, because he's getting paid.

  • Anonymous

    Nas stans who stay hatin' on jay-z really don't fukk with any of jays music at all? Jay-z stans who stay hatin' on nas really don't fukk with any of nas music at all? And yeah I'm talkin' bout you nikkaz callin jigga a camel in every post about him and the ones who stay sayin nas lost... Come on now... They both hip hop biggest legends still livin'...

    • Anonymous

      @OP this is deeper than rap son. Jay stans and Nas stans are destined to be forever intertwined in a battle of stannery. It's just how it is. It's part of the game. Now stop that fuck ass Kumbaya shyt and choose a side already.

    • Anonymous

      AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA hiphopdx: where trolls meet full retards

    • Fuck Understanding

      Who's the faggot that wrote this kumbaya ass comment? Jay and Nasir stans shouldn't get along period, so pick a side a go to war. By the way, Nas lost and will forever lose.

    • Anony

      i dont fuck with rap period. im the truest hater

    • Anonymous

      But why did u say fuck queensbridge? lol

    • Fuck Queensbridge

      shut the fukk up... ol' we are the world ass fukkboi. I don't listen to no damn camel music. I gotta play 2K13 with the volume on mute to protect my speakers from being assaulted by S Dot Knowles lack of talent.

  • How The Mind Of A Nas Stan Works

    Nas is a modern-day Shakespeare and is on a whole different superior level from all other rappers, who I shall diss and hate for the rest of my life. Including Jay Z, who I shall mention on every article related to Nas even when the article doesn't mention Jay at all. I must always say Ether > Takeover even though Ether's production is garbage and the lyrics are so hilariously childish they could've easily been written by a five year old, because in my sick, twisted mind, that's what real Rap music is about. I must forget the fact that Nas hasn't ever released an album on the level of Illmatic and I also must completely forget the fact that Nas the God took the most L's in the industry.

  • 1000W

    greatest MC of all time

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  • son of a sax

    I rememeber thinking the same thing. Who is this new jack that got this All Star production team?!?! He got PR AND Preemo. Yeah, Nas was blessed to have heavy hitters like that, lend a hand on his first time out. But thats whut connections is all about.

  • insanemacbeth

    great article.

  • Anonymous

    Great, now recall owing half your money to the IRS and the other half to Kelis aka Boss Bitch

    • Anonymous

    • dean

      pathetic. instead of appreciating this great time in music, you choose to stir the pot of negativity, such a pernicious way to express yourself. please do not comment on this site anymore.

    • untitled

      Why? why even lament on that? We all know what the deal is. That was uncalled for, like you never made mistakes in your life. smh

  • Anonymous

    whats that tattoo on his chest

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