Nas & DJ Premier’s New Song Takes Hip-Hop Back To Its Golden Era

It has been over a decade Hip-Hop Heads received a Nas song produced by DJ Premier. In late 2011, Nas connected with Premier and The Berklee Symphony Orchestra for “REgeneration.” Four years prior, in 2007, Preemo supplied Nasir Jones, KRS-One, Rakim, and Kanye West with “Classic,” a promotional video single for Nike.

That song arrived nearly 15 years into one of Hip-Hop’s most respected chemistries. Besides his birthday brother Large Professor, Preemo had the biggest production presence on Nas’ 1994 debut, Illmatic. Having laid a foundation with “N.Y. State of Mind,” “Memory Lane (Sittin’ in da Park),” and “Represent,” Premier and Nas went on to make incredible songs in ensuing years, including 1999’s “Nas Is Like,” 2001’s “2nd Childhood,” and 1996’s “I Gave You Power.”

Nas Names 5 Of His Favorite Rap Songs In Celebration Of Hip-Hop’s Birthday (Video)

As Nas has made three consecutive projects with another producer, Hit-Boy, Premier provided scratches on late 2021’s “Wave Gods.” Nas also popped However, after being teased with prospects of a whole album together back in the mid-2000s, Hip-Hop Heads still crave Nas rhyming to Preemo’s rhythms. Today, that is exactly what fans get.

DJ Premier recently partnered with Nas’ Mass Appeal label (named after a Gang Starr classic) to release Hip Hop 50: Volume 1. The five-song EP is part of a series leading up to Hip-Hop’s 50th anniversary in 2023. To celebrate a cross-section of the culture and music, Preemo recruited a list ranging from Slick Rick and Nas to Lil Wayne and Run The Jewels to Rapsody and Joey Bada$$.

Breakbeat Lou Is A Digging Pioneer. He Spins Run-D.M.C,, James Brown & Snoop Dogg (Mix)

“Beat Breaks” marks the Nas collabo, taking its name from a lyric on “NY State Of Mind” (that makes an appearance in the 2022 song). The producer kicks off the song by acknowledging Breakbeat Lou, the man who compiled and curated many of the records used for breakin’ and sample-based production on The Ultimate Breaks & Beats series. Preemo cuts in a salute to Queensbridge before Nas begins his first verse. “First off, I wanna thank the pioneers for makin’ this possible / Fake-humble, snake-dummy sh*t is intolerable,” the MC starts. He then describes the fruits of his labor, including women at pool parties, while reminding folks that he still rolls deep and plays for keeps. He shouts out the song’s producer while touting that he’s too rich to be motivated by small money from companies and people. “I boosted this street Rap / The truth-over-beats Rap / The earth been here over a billion years-deep-Rap / That new S-class rider music, with your seat back / I’m the student who grew up to teach Rap,” he spits. Nas studied under Large ProfessorKool G RapRakim, and Tragedy Khadafi (aka The Intelligent Hoodlum), among others, before becoming a Raps superstar. “This that Nas with his teeth cracked,” he adds, referring to an era before Nas “got his chipped tooth fixed.”

Towards the song’s close, Nas’ verse heats up. “Premier beats are water, let your thoughts dissolve in it / Remember, Nas like a father to the fatherless / We take the pain, smile, and mix it with street knowledge in / Hop the turnstile, back when I was a problem then.” Seconds later, he adds, “Two 1200s, a mixer, plug my mic in / Holdin’ my mic’s like huggin’ lightnin’ / The concrete breaks / Get snapped by the sound waves from the early days / Feel it in your vertebrae / Go DJ.” With that, Preemo gets to work, sending off the song in style.

Guru’s Son Transforms Into His Father For Gang Starr’s New Video

True to its title, the song is based on one of the many 1970s samples that Breakbeat Lou shared with Heads during his incredible series. On Gang Starr and K-Ci & JoJo’s 1998 song “Royalty,” Premier previously called out sample curators who sold collections by listing the songs that used the beats.

The AFH playlist currently includes all five songs from Hip Hop 50, a first. The curated playlist also includes new music featuring Scarface, AZ, KRS-One, and other songs by Nas.

DJ Premier Discusses The Making Of Gang Starr’s Hard To Earn 25 Years Later

#BonusBeat: A recent episode of Ambrosia For HeadsWhat’s The Headline podcast that examines our readers’ choices for the Greatest Album Of All-Time. That list prominently features Nas’ Illmatic.