Nas says that even though he started working on his next album with Timbaland about a year-and-a-half ago and he felt the music was powerful, he stopped working on the project.
“I stepped back from it,” Nas says during an interview with NPR. "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."
The Queensbridge rapper says that the motivation to record new material came from attention surrounding the 20-year anniversary of Illmatic, his debut album.
"I wasn't really, really, really inspired, to tell you the truth, until we started to, kind of, embark on this twentieth anniversary,” Nas says. "It wasn't 'til then that I really started to feel it. Cause I got a chance — and I gotta give credit to the documentary guys [who made Time is Illmatic]. Them showing me the footage and stuff really like — it really lets you know where you come from and everything, and where you at now. 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.
Nas is now back working on his next album.
"Now I'm at a place where — I laid down ideas, so the ideas I lay down then, now, I'm kind of like going through 'em and I'm fixing ‘ m,” he says. "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."