When Nas looked to sign rappers to his Mass Appeal imprint, he looked to Fresno, California's Fashawn.
"Fashawn is one of the most underrated in the game," Nas says in an exclusive statement to HipHopDX. “The world is gonna know soon. We're excited to have him as a part of the family."
Fashawn's prepping The Ecology for his Mass Appeal debut, a project that follows a series of past efforts from the emcee, including his Ode To Illmatic piece and his critically acclaimed Exile-produced album, Boy Meets World. Fashawn has been working on The Ecology, an album with the same name as a cut off Boy Meets World, for many years.
"I took the time to really work on this project because I knew it would be important not just for my career, but for Hip Hop," Fashawn says. "I can’t wait to finally share my new project, especially through a label that gets my vision."
In October 2009, Fashawn earned praise for Boy Meets World in a variety of publications, including HipHopDX, which awarded the project a 4 out of 5 X rating. "Boy Meets World is the product of dutiful students of the culture and genre, students who soaked up the works of artists before them to create a new piece of art with a vintage sound," HipHopDX said in its review of the album. "Be it rhyming about introspective topics or just spitting on the mic, Fashawn’s rhymes backed by Exile’s beats provide one of the year’s most solid and balanced efforts, an inspired album."
In March 2014, Fashawn spoke with HipHopDX about what he and Nas had "brewing" at the time. "This is kind of a new beginning for me," Fashawn says. "Simply just a glimpse of what's to come for my career. Me and the big homie have a lot of things brewing for 2014 and beyond. I couldn't have asked for a better MC to stand next to. It's not even even fair what we're about to do to Hip Hop from this point on."
That interview followed a SXSW performance alongside Nas at a Mass Appeal showcase.
"I got to share the stage with one of the most influential artist of our time," Fashawn said at the time. "It was an honor to share the stage with The Don and even more of an honor to [hear him] say that he is a fan of what I do."
During that interview, Fashawn also spoke about what fans can anticipate from The Ecology.
"Expect the return of Rap in its purest form," Fashawn said. "Expect an album music listeners and Hip Hop fans have been waiting to hear for a long time. I put my all into this project. I can say that The Ecology is going to be something special. My 2014 just got that much more interesting."
Photo Of Fashawn Via: Chris Elise