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.

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“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.”

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