Last week, Nas continued his prolific streak with Hit-Boy, as the Queensbridge rapper and superproducer joined forces for their latest full-length offering Magic 2. It marks their fifth project in the past three years, following 2020's King's Disease, 2021's King's Disease II and Magic, and 2022's King's Disease III.
An early standout from Magic 2, "What This All Really Means" finds the Illmatic rapper reflecting on bootleggers leaking his third studio album, 1999's I Am... Nas opens his second verse by revealing that Nipsey Hussle, prior to the Los Angeles rapper's tragic death in 2019, wanted to produce a documentary about the infamous leak, which arrived nearly three years after Nas dropped his 1996 classic It Was Written.
"Did a double album when rap double albums was startin'/They bootlegged I Am..., an album I put my heart in," Nas raps. "Nipsey met me to do a doc about it 'fore he departed/He talked to Stoute about it too, 'cause he was part of that project, yeah."
Released last Friday, Magic 2 is highlighted by the previously released single "One Mic, One Gun" featuring 21 Savage, as well as a brand new guest spot from 50 Cent, who appears on "Office Hours."
In the days leading up to the release of Magic 2, Fif took to Instagram to tease his appearance on the album. "Yal ain’t herd [sic] me in minute, @nas felt like it was time so it’s done," the G-Unit rapper wrote.
Speaking to Complex about the making of It Was Written in 2016 for its 20th anniversary, Nas mentioned wanting to make “a street album with Marley Marl” at the time, and how leaks made him “rethink my whole album.”
“After a while, some of my songs appeared as promos on the radio with all kinds of n***as rapping on them—meanwhile, I hadn’t even finished working on the song for my album," Nas recalled in the piece by Insanul Ahmed and Rob Kenner. "I had a song called 'On the Real' that I didn’t finish, and before I could, I’m hearing it on the radio with people rapping on it. I couldn’t understand that. I was hurt and I knew I couldn’t work like that. So, I had to rethink my whole album. I didn’t know what to do at that point because if I couldn’t do it with Marley, I didn’t have a plan B.”