October 7th, 2010 / 1:01 pm

“This feels great and you not feeling what I’m feeling is disturbing”

Over at We Who Are About To Die, Daniel Nester posted a letter from Nas to his label, Def Jam. MTV News spoke to an unnamed source from Nas’s “camp” who confirmed the letter: “”It was a personal e-mail,” the source said. “[The leak] wasn’t planned. It was not meant to be blasted out in the world, but we’re not upset about it.”” You should read the letter, which I feel maybe has some interesting relevance to so-called “indie lit.” And to even broader notions of privacy/publicity/social interaction/creative culture/cultural capital on the internet/feelings. I know less than most people about rap, so I don’t know how legit/awesome Nas is, but I feel like the letter is fun. Here are fun quotes:

“I could go on twitter or hot 97 tomorrow and get 100,000 protesters @ your building but I choose to walk my own path my own way because since day one I have been my own man.”

“People connect to the Artist @ the end of the day, they don’t connect with the executives. Honestly, nobody even cares what label puts out a great record, they care about who recorded it.”

“I have a fan base that dies for my music and a RAP label that doesn’t understand RAP.”



  1. Kyle Minor

      Imagine the unexploited artistic possibilities that might accrue to a person who has sufficient power to summon 100,000 people to a particular building by Tweeting. Imagine, too, the political and social power inherent in that knowledge. If you look at this way, major hip-hop stars are (1) fundamentally conservative in the way they pursue their art, and (2) exercising extraordinary restraint in the way they engage their audience with regard to political action and social protest.

  2. Monch

      I lay puzzled as I backtrack to earlier times/nothing’s equivalent, to the new york state of mind

  3. Mike Young

      true, true, but there is also this: do you believe him? would people really go where he says just because they “follow” him on twitter?

  4. Tom k

      Umm not really related but everytime i hear or read Nas I’m contractually obliged to mention that illmatic is one of the greatest hip hop albums that i’ve ever heard. ok, that’s done.

  5. Mike Meginnis

      The title of this post / original quote is awesome, funny.

  6. M Kitchell

      i am still always so confused about what somebody needs MORE THAN $200,000 TO RECORD AN ALBUM. Does he need a brand new recording studio BUILT exclusively to record this shit in? The OddFuture kids are 16-19 and their albums are as tight as anything coming out with a budget.

      (And yes, I understand that promotion is expensive, especially at a level that is as high-profile as Nas is, but is this shit asking for that much money for promotion? If he has fans that will die for his music will they care about how much he spent on production costs? Couldn’t he just release a damn tape release independently if he cares that much about getting his “Lost Tapes” out? It’s not like he doesn’t have the money. Capitalism is so fucked up.)

  7. Chet

      oddfuture, hell yeah!

  8. Tim Jones-Yelvington


      It’s time to focus on owning the streets again.

  9. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      Maybe photo shoots and videos also?

  10. deadgod

      Ha – excellent point, mike. I was thinking that Nas is making what he suspects to be an emptily self-controlled threat – he’d not want to call for “100,000 protesters” and get a few hundred truants and six photojournalists from People.

      But Kyle’s perspective obtains: what if, say, militia members were herded for several days, via twitter, facebook, blogs, and so on, in the direction of some concrete “protest”? I know teabaggers – maybe you do, too – ; they don’t believe in DNA or civil infrastructure or astronomy, they do believe in ethnically determined privilege and magical explanations-that-‘explain’-nothing.

  11. Mike Meginnis

      Yeah, that was my assumption. I mean it’s all crazy from our perspective but when an artist makes his distributors big money he has a right to ask for the support he thinks he needs to make that happen, I think.

  12. goner

      I went on a long run the other day and listened to Illmatic twice in a row. I know how you feel because it’s been said over and over again but that album is still crazy, crazy awesome. It is arguably the best hip-hop album ever made–it is at least very much in the discussion.

  13. Guest

      Not only is it one of the greatest rap albums of all time, it’s one of the greatest works of art produced in the last 25 or so years. Absolutely amazing.

      On another side note, does anyone else find it weird when people say stuff like, “I don’t like rap and country”? It’s absurd to me when people completely dismiss entire music genres, and you’d have to be tone deaf in order to not like Illmatic.

  14. Mike Young

      yeah i think it’s really funny when people say they like everything besides rap and country.. to my ears it sounds like “don’t worry, i don’t like poor people music!” but i know that’s a controversial/reductive thing to say..

  15. marshall

      ayo but have you heard god’s son tho

  16. marshall

      not really feeling horrorcore shit

  17. Guest

      ayo but have you heard god’s son tho

  18. Guest

      not really feeling horrorcore shit