Long before they formed the Grammy-winning partnership behind King’s Disease, King’s Disease II and MAGIC, Nas and Hit-Boy teamed up with Frank Ocean on a song called “No Such Thing As White Jesus.”
Recorded in 2012, the song started out as a collaboration between Hit-Boy and Frank Ocean (who first met around 2006) before Nas jumped on the track after Frank played it for him during a studio session for the Queensbridge rapper’s Life Is Good album.
Unfortunately, Hit-Boy lost the hard drive containing the file, squandering its chances of landing on either Life Is Good or Frank’s own 2012 album Channel Orange. The HS87 hitmaker eventually recovered the hard drive and in 2014 played a snippet of the long-lost record on social media, although it never received an official release — or so fans thought.
While speaking with HipHopDX at his pre-Grammys brunch and Surf Club label launch in Las Vegas earlier this month, Hit-Boy revealed “No Such Thing As White Jesus” actually did see the light of day, just not in the form that fans expected.
“That song actually ended up coming out on Lost Tapes 2,” the Inland Empire native said, referencing Nas’ 2019 compilation project and the follow-up to 2002’s fan favorite The Lost Tapes. “But [Nas] had somebody else sing the hook that Frank wrote.”
While Hit-Boy didn’t reveal which song that was exactly, signs point to “Royalty,” the lone Hit-Boy-produced song on The Lost Tapes 2. The reworked version features a hook from Carson, California-bred singer RaVaughn, who was once signed to Ne-Yo’s Compound University imprint.
Released in July 2019, the aptly-titled The Lost Tapes 2 also featured previously unreleased collaborations with Kanye West, RZA, Swizz Beatz, Pete Rock, The Alchemist, No I.D., DJ Toomp and more. The album debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard 200 behind 23,000 first-week sales.
During a 2018 interview with DJBooth, Hit-Boy delved deeper into his history with Frank Ocean, the making of “No Such Thing As White Jesus” and his hard drive mishap.
“I used to chop it with Frank Ocean damn near every day,” he said. “This was before he even put out Nostalgia [Ultra]. We did a song in the studio, like one of our first professional sessions. This is like ‘06. Me and Frank built from there — I ain’t even call him Frank. His name is still locked into my phone from ‘06 as ‘Chris The Writer.’ He was just a songwriter at the time.
“He hit me up one time after ‘N-ggas In Paris’ came out and said he had a studio session that he wanted me to bring some beats. It was one of the first beats I pulled up. He ended up doing the hook. He named it ‘No Such Thing As White Jesus.’ He told me the next day he had a studio session with Nas and told me he would play it for him. He’s playing it for him, and Nas hopped on it.”
He added, “I had lost the hard drive that had the Frank vocals on it. After [Life Is Good] came out, I ended up recovering that drive, and I had it for a while, and then I ended up losing it again. All I have is the original hook from the original session that we did, so I don’t think it’s gonna see the light of day, but the hook is amazing! It’s just classic Frank over some Hip Hop shit I produced.”