DJ Khalil: “That record has a crazy story behind it. I wanted to work with Nas really bad so my manager got in touch with his manager. So they send me an acapella and it was ‘Let's Go Esco.’ [The song was done but] they wanted a different beat for it. So, it took me like probably two days [to make the beat].
"I probably made three different mixes for it and ‘Let's Go Esco’ was probably the last one I did. I made these samples with my guitar player and my keyboard player. I was trying to make something [that wasn’t] too clean or too “single [sounding]” or whatever.
"Nas just doesn't sound right like that, you know? Nas sounds dope just over raw drums, dirty samples. So I just took a different approach. I remember my boy Chase, he was in the other room [when I made the beat] like, 'Yo! That's crazy!' And, we listened to it the whole day like it was a brand new Nas song.
“So what happened was, I was doing a convention and I was doing a presentation for Propellerhead Software. They make the program Reason, which is what I use to make beats. So they wanted me to play some stuff I was working on. So I was like, ‘Okay, I'm gonna play some exclusive Nas.’
"So, I played a verse of it and I didn't talk over it or anything. I just let it play. [I wasn’t] really thinking that someone was filming it and that they put it up on their website. So people watched the video and they were like, 'Yo, this is some new Nas shit!' The audio is taken directly, it wasn't through another speaker or whatever. The audio was real good, so people started ripping it.
"I remember DJ Muggs—who I had a label with and is a mentor of mine—called me and was like, 'Yo, did you do new Nas?' He played it for me over the phone and I was like, 'How the hell did you get that?' And he was like, 'Dude, it's all over these blogs!'
“The next day it was everywhere and I was panicking because I was going to go into the studio with Nas. When I sent the ‘Esco Let’s Go’ beat, he loved it [and wanted to get into the studio]. I was actually in the studio with him the day before [it leaked] and I had to go back in the studio with him the next day.
"The song had leaked, they were playing it on Hot 97, and people were going crazy over it. I thought he was gonna be mad at me, but he was actually happy about it because the response was so great. They wanted to go with it as a street single, but it just didn't work out.
"It ended up being one of those gems. It didn't make it to the album, but at least I can say I worked with Nas. It actually did more for me than anything. Even though it wasn't really an album placement, my credibility went up so much from making something dope with Nas.
"And the song was good and everyone was like, 'Yo, this is the kinda stuff we wanna hear Nas on.' Everybody was really pumped over it. It was a scary experience at first because that was my first taste of a leak. It was my first time ever officially being leaked and having it be associated with a big artist. I thought I was never gonna work with Nas again, but it worked out.”