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As it was announced earlier this morning, Nas is ditching Def Jam for the indies. The Illmatic rapper is set to call Mass Appeal Records his new home after his Def Jam deal expires later this year and has already inked rapper Boldy James to the label. Among the first releases from the new label are set to be a Lost Tapes sequel, a compilation LP with friends of the label such as Future, Pusha T, Mac Miller and a Nas cover of Gang Starr’s “Mass Appeal” which inspired the label’s name and maybe the biggest of all – a new Pimp C album which pairs the late UGK rapper with modern producers such as Mike WiLL Made It & DJ Mustard.

“I’m excited to be a part of creating and supporting future careers and legacy artists, promoting love and finding new genius to help the world,” Nas said via e-mail. “I’m going to be as involved as I need to be, but I also want to be respectful of the art and give artists the space they need to grow and become themselves.”

The rapper along with label co-founder Peter Bittenbender raised $1.2 million to relaunch the label’s sister magazine Mass Appeal, a relationship in similar vein to that of The FADER & Fader Label or Vice Records & VICE Magazine.

“We want to become the next XL,” Bittenbender says. “This is an opportunity to take everything we’ve learned and build a global, diversified label from the ground up.”

[Billboard]