Nas & Kanye West May Have Taken This Producer’s Beat & Album Cover To Use On NASIR

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The buzz surrounding Nas’ full album with Kanye West behind the boards reached a fevered pitch this Spring, so when NASIR finally dropped on June 14th, reactions were quite extreme. Some lavished it with praise, while others were not impressed by the 7-track effort. However, there was another faction of fans that were more focused on the cover than the music.

Those that follow and support the new wave of hardcore Hip-Hop immediately recognized the iconic picture of five Dallas youngsters against a brick wall from the cover of Nowaah the Flood and The Architect’s joint album Trill Life Mathematiks, a project which had been released four days prior to NASIR.

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The Architect is a beatmaker known for his early work with Stones Throw, and more recently for producing full albums for Killa Kali, Cochise, and Planet Asia. Flood, on the other hand, is a relatively new MC that currently resides in Dallas and is part of the PRR movement. Nowaah had chosen the pic and sent it to graphic artist Trevor Lang, who handled the cover layout. We reached out to to the young lyricist to ask why he chose that specific photo and he told Ambrosia For Heads, “Well, I was specifically looking for a pic that was 1988 South Dallas [during the] Jamaican crime wave, crack era. And that’s what came up.” He continues, “South Dallas, we call that Sudan, and that’s like the narrative of the record.”

Now, the use of a striking snap for a cover by two different Hip-Hop artists could certainly be a coincidence…but there’s more to the story. Turns out the sixth cut on NASIR, “Adam and Eve,” uses the same sample that The Architect rocked for a remix he did…of Nas. The Bay Area producer released a mixtape of Nasty Nas remixes in October of last year and on “No Idea’s Original” he used a loop from an obscure 1970s track by Iranian artist Kourosh Yaghmaei. The Architect recently told Complex that he found the loop while digging one day and paired it with Nas’ verse. “I just came across the loop. I dragged and dropped the vocals on there through Ableton [recording software] and put the song together. Obviously I didn’t foresee that anybody would be using the beat later on or whatever, so it wasn’t a real big thought process.” He isn’t sure what to think similarities but he says he tagged Nas and his Mass Appeal label on Twitter when he released the mixtape. “Yeah. And you know how you @ people [on Twitter]? I @’ed Mass Appeal, I @’ed Nas, I @’ed, all kinds of different people just to try to promote the thing.”

Despite the startling similarities, The Architect has taken a very high-minded stance regarding the matter. He told Complex “First of all, I like to think great minds think alike. I would like to say that first. Second of all, it’s very odd when lightning strikes in the same place two to three times. Keep in mind they were noticing [Nowaah the Flood] on Mass Appeal. He was being featured on there a lot. They know about him because he has been around for a while.” He also says, rather than stirring up trouble, he would simply like to work with Nas and Kanye in the future.