Let’s say you’re one of the top 5 rappers of all-time (arguably) and you find yourself strapped to a label that just spent nearly $2 million on a formerly incarcerated rapper who is exiled from the United States. You want to release a project on unreleased material that your fans will worship and cherish. You’ve got a Presidential co-sign from the White House and yet, your record label doesn’t really give two sheets to the wind about you.

If you are one Nasir Jones – proceed to write a scathing e-mail an join Lupe Fiasco on the picket lines against big box record labels.

In a move straight out of an executive boardroom, Def Jam is unwilling to release Nas’ Lost Tapes 2 after giving the rapper a budget of only $200,000 to promote it. Instead of going straight to Twitter like some of his labelmates would (Kanye), Nas penned an e-mail (?!) to the folks at Def Jam.

From: Nas
To: LA Reid, Steve Bartels, Steve Gawley, Michael Seltzer, Joseph Borrino, Chris Hicks

Peace to all,

With all do respect to you all, Nas is NOBODY’s slave. This is not the 1800?s, respect me and I will respect you.

I won’t even tap dance around in an email, I will get right into it. 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. Yet time and time again its the executives who always stand in the way of a creative artist’s dream and aspirations. You don’t help draw the truth from my deepest and most inner soul, you don’t even do a great job @ selling it. The #1 problem with DEF JAM is pretty simple and obvious, the executives think they are the stars. You aren’t…. not even close. As a matter of fact, you wish you were, but it didn’t work out so you took a desk job. To the consumer, I COME FIRST. Stop trying to deprive them! I have a fan base that dies for my music and a RAP label that doesn’t understand RAP. Pretty fucked up situation

This isn’t the 90?s though. Beefing with record labels is so 15 years ago. @ this point I just need you all to be very clear where I stand and how I feel about “my label.” 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. I did business with Tommy Mottola and Donnie Einer, two of the most psycho dudes this business ever created. I worked well with them for one major reason……. they believed in me. The didn’t give a fuck about what any radio station or magazine said….those dudes had me.

Lost Tapes is a movement and a very important set up piece for my career as it stands. I started this over 5 years ago @ Columbia and nobody knew what it was or what it did but the label put it out as an LP and the fans went crazy for it and I single handlely built a new brand of rap albums. It’s smart and after 5 years it’s still a head of the game. This feels great and you not feeling what I’m feeling is disturbing. Don’t get in the way of my creativity. We are aligned with the stars here, this is a movement. There is a thing called KARMA that comes to haunt you when you tamper with the aligning stars. WE ARE GIVING THE PEOPLE EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT. Stop throwing dog shit on a MAGICAL moment.

You don’t get another Nas recording that doesn’t count against my deal….PERIOD! Keep your bullshit $200,000.00 fund. Open the REAL budget. This is a New York pioneers ALBUM, there ain’t many of us. I am ready to drop in the 4th quarter. You don’t even have shit coming out! Stop being your own worst enemy. Let’s get money!


Now judging by the Kelis fiasco, Nas doesn’t have the business savvy to go up against Def Jam and win. Technically, Def Jam could count the album towards his contract like so many other labels have done to artists who seemingly have albums released out of the blue (Rap-A-Lot w/ Z-Ro) but then again, why invest $200,000 into something that can easily be stumbled upon the net?

However, Nas is a Queensbridge veteran and is deserved of the stature h has in the game. The fact that Def Jam can’t properly market the genre they basically had a helping hand in building is sad. Using Nas as a reminder of that might be even worse.