The Making of Nas' "It Was Written"

“Nas Is Coming”

Produced by: Dr. Dre

Nas: “I’m a big fan of Dr. Dre. Dre came to one of my shows when Illmatic came out. I did a show at a club that Prince owned called Glam Slam West in L.A. It was one of the illest L.A. clubs back when someone would always get shot outside but important people would be there and it would always be live.

“I came onstage holding a cognac glass of Hennessy and a cigar in my hand—that was my style in those days. Someone told me Dre was there, I went to see him after my show and we kicked it. He wanted to work since back then and I was a big fan."

Steve Stoute: “Working with Dr. Dre was something that I thought was important for marketing the album and trying to do something special to go to a level higher than Illmatic. So we felt like, ‘Hey man, let’s go get Dr. Dre.’

 

Dr. Dre had been basically on hiatus. No one could hire him. Just after he stepped away from Death Row, no one could even find him. [I found him because] I’m the commissioner, that’s my job. It was a big deal, it really was. - Steve Stoute

 

“And Dre went on record saying that the best rapper he thought in the game was Nas. He was on BET or MTV and he said, ‘Nas if you’re looking at this, I want to work with you, man, you’re my favorite rapper.’

“But Dr. Dre had been basically on hiatus. No one could hire him. Just after he stepped away from Death Row, no one could even find him. [I found him because] I’m the commissioner, that’s my job. It was a big deal, it really was.”

Nas: “When he did Dr. Dre Presents...The Aftermath he called me and I got on a song with him and a few people called ‘East Coast/West Coast Killas.’ I just saw right there, Dre wasn’t about the drama, he was about making records so we stayed cool.

“People were talking about this East Coast/West Coast shit but Dre called me and was like, ‘I got this record for you.’ He played the sample over the phone for me and I went crazy. We just wanted to show that a New York rapper could rap on a Dr. Dre beat and it’s all love. That was our position on that one.

“I recorded in Dre’s house. Dre had a banging studio in his house. It was real chill, just how it sounded. It was just banging beats, real energy, not a lot of people there to distract us. It was just us, happy to work together.”

Tone: “What that spun off was Trackmasters and Dr. Dre doing The Firm album. That’s how that whole relationship came about.”

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