SXSW Interview: Nas & Steve Stoute

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Ballroom Dancing
Photo by John Anderson

SXSW Interview: Nas & Steve Stoute

Austin Convention Center, Friday, March 16

"We brought wine to help with the candor," said Nas' former manager Steve Stoute pouring two glasses as the two sat down to discuss the Queensbridge, New York, rapper's nearly-20-year career. When asked about his controversial 2006 disc Hip-Hop Is Dead, Nas insisted most missed the point. "It was all about trying to re-energize everything. No matter how much money was being made in hip-hop or how many records were being sold, I knew that statement would get everyone to think about hip-hop again. Does everyone know who the Fat Boys are and if not, why not?" Legendary producers Pete Rock and DJ Premier were in attendance as Nas reminisced about collaborating on Illmatic, the classic debut Nas will perform in its entirety tonight. "The room where I recorded my first album was just nasty, in a good way though," he said of Premier's D&D Studios. "This is the place where Biggie wrote 'Unbelievable' and Premier did 'Ten Crack Commandments.' This is where Gang Starr records were made. I remember Primo coming to the projects to pick me up, and I would be making sales out the window." "Thank God for the statute of limitations," Stoute interjected. "God Bless America," Nas agreed, raising his glass of wine.

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