The Alchemist Tells All: The Stories Behind His Classic Records (Part 1)

Nas "My Way" (2002)

Album: The Lost Tapes
Label: Columbia, Ill Will

The Alchemist: “This is gonna be a really nerdy interview we gotta do something funny man, something’s gotta explode or something. I should fake some type of an attack, fake like I had some type of attack. ‘Ahhhhh!’ Okay I'm back now that was crazy.

“I wasn’t there when he did the vocals, because Nas would take beats of his own out. At that time, one of his A&Rs would give him beats or hit me way later and say like, ‘I want you to see what Nas did to this beat.’

 

I also brought some records in a bag because I was thinking of the title, Stillmatic. I always liked those freestyles that Nasdid, like ‘Splittin Phillies,’ all of those joints that sounded like he was rhyming in a park.

 

“Nas was doing Stillmatic, he had the title already. He was in the studio in Long Island and I went out there to see him. I had all these beats on a DAT tape but I also brought some records in a bag because I was thinking of the title, Stillmatic. I always liked those freestyles that he did, like ‘Splittin Phillies,’ all of those joints that sounded like he was rhyming in a park.

“So I went to the studio and I was playing him beats. I said, ‘Yo, it’s cool but the name Stillmatic, I just heard something like if we just looped this up and I threw on a Cecil Homes version of the Barry White shit. On some park shit.’ And he was rubbing his chin like, ‘Alright, go loop it up.’

“Nas left, I looped it up, and we did whatever we had to do to get it swinging. I left and came back the next day and Nas wasn’t there but the engineer just pressed play and the song was done. It pretty much embodied what we were talking about. No half stepping, flat tops, he just killed it. It made me realize how beyond good he is.”

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