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NAS VS. DEF JAM my first pingback blog…

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dope shit from my homey Nasir Jones…. a client and friend and ex-artist of mine… and I’m as well a friend, a fan and his sometimes jeweler

coming across a friend’s blog BROKEMOGUL
if you don’t know Scott, he’s an LA OG native and used to work at MTV, done other major musical related work and now and has been the music supervisor for the show Entourage (so much fam involved it’s crazy)

he had this interesting story:



(yes I made that “N” chain…. which is now hip hop history)

Now there are two sides to every story. Artists want to express themselves and labels want to make money. And if you think labels are in it for anything but the money, you’re wrong, certainly not the major labels. Make it a labor of love and let’s see how many employees are left…zilch.

But this doesn’t count against my commitment story is popping up ever more frequently. I can see both sides in theory, sometimes the act just wants off the label or a higher royalty that’s in the contract for further LPs, and other times the label just wants to keep the act as long as it can for as cheap as it can.

But what’s definitely clear is there’s an adversary relationship. And this adversary relationship is killing the major labels.

It’s very simple. I give you the money, I tell you what to do. What artist wants to be told what to do? And if you don’t want to be told what to do, don’t take the money.

And that’s the paradigm that’s growing today. Artists are doing it for themselves. You can sell and get paid via Tunecore. And is radio gonna play your music anyway? That’s where the major label relationship is, radio and possibly TV, but how many acts are deserving of major TV exposure today? And that’s more a reflection of vapid TV outlets than the acts.

Terry McBride had it right. He was just too early. You want to unify the copyrights. So you’re in control. So you can say yes or no.

A little birdie sent me the below e-mail with this note attached:

“In a nut shell he has an album titled ‘Lost Tapes 2′ that his fans have been dying to have since his first one came out in 2005. They seem to not understand the cultural impact the first one had. The album is done and now they are saying he can put it out but it won’t count on his deal and they won’t pay for it but still want all the benefits of a new nas album.”

And here it is:

From: Nas
To: LA Reid, Steve Bartels, Steve Gawley, Michael Seltzer, Joseph Borrino, Chris Hicks
Subject: PUT MY SHIT OUT!

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!

-N.Jones


Visit the archive: http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/

p.s. does Mike Kaiser still work at Def Jam? for the last 15 years I’ve wanted to punch his teeth in, but haven’t seen dude since Dublin’s was poppin and I was djing… (jay-z’s verse “bubblin at dublin’s” in I JUST WANT TO LOVE YOU” song, yes that was US)

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