Your Old Droog Explains Why He Did Not Stop Rumors That He Was Nas (Video)

For those who’ve been following Brooklyn, New York’s Your Old Droog since the infancy of his career, the now-infamous Nas rumors are as much a part of his early brand as is his tremendous talent as an MC. With a flow, cadence, and an ear for beats that made comparing him to the Queensbridge icon easy, Droog has since stepped well into his own as a respected artist and continues to garner critical acclaim and recognition for his impressive body of work. In a recent interview with VladTV, the rapper shared some revealing details about how the rumors started, and why he embraces such a rumor-filled jumpstart to his career.

Starting the interview by taking it back to his pre-debut rapping, Droog says “I’ve been rhyming for a minute, and I never heard that comparison [to Nas]. Maybe I wasn’t nice enough. I spent years just workin’, doin’ songs that weren’t that good,” the self-effacing MC says. “I finally did some material where I was just, like, ‘yo, I’m gonna stop making these lil’ funny-ass songs with hooks and 16-bar verses, and I’ma really go in and showcase what I can do.”

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Describing that moment of clarity as “his last shot,” Droog says that he eventually found an engineer with whom he better meshed, and shortly thereafter, he heard the first Nas comparison. “Somebody was, like, ‘yo I played it for my mans, and he said it sounds like Nas.’ I’m, like, ‘yo, that’s a compliment.'” He took it as a sign that he was improving his craft, and he began to focus on how he rolled out his 2014 eponymous EP, saying that was “crucial.” “I didn’t wanna put pictures and videos out first. I wanted the music to shine.” Naturally, that shrouded the project in anonymity that helped fuel the Nas rumors, and “people’s imaginations ran wild,” according to Droog.

It was Mass Appeal, the media company and record label of which Nas is co-owner, who was one of the first outlets in the Rap space to cover his debut material, he recounts. Citing an article written by Sacha Jenkins, Droog says that’s what inspired the notion that this “elusive dude” and his team were “trying to pull the wool over our eyes.” “They sped my tape up and uploaded it with a picture of Nas’ face,” he remembers. “So that’s how [that rumor] happened. It snowballed.” Adding that he had no control whatsoever over the swirling hearsay, Droog stops short of echoing Vlad’s sentiment that Mass Appeal ignited the rumor for their own benefit. Instead, he says it was the “fans, not knowing that much about me, about Your Old Droog, thinking up conspiracies, basically, but I wouldn’t say Mass Appeal fed into that.”

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In further discussing what Vlad calls the “air of mystery” surrounding his entry into the game, Droog says he “didn’t want to be attached to another man’s name,” something that could have very well hindered his ability to gain traction based on his own talents. Recognizing that getting compared to arguably one of the greatest MCs in history was ultimately a compliment, he says “I love Nas. I grew up on Nas. He’s a god.” What he did take umbrage with was the misconception people seemed to have that he had “manufactured” the rumor, “which was totally wrong.” “I was just sittin’ back, like. ‘oh word? This is what they runnin’ with? OK.'” Pointing to his relatively reclusive nature on social media, Droog calls himself a “private person” and says “what was I gonna do? Just come out and say ‘it’s not him guys! It’s me!” Adding “I just put out some music I thought was dope.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Vlad and Droog discuss the meaning behind his stage name, growing up Russian and Ukrainian, and more. Your Old Droog most recently dropped Packs, featuring Danny Brown and others.