Nas Pens ‘Open Letter’ To Label

Published: Thursday 7th Oct 2010 by Sam

It appears Nas is once again at loggerheads with record label executives. The acclaimed rapper, who is no stranger to industry controversy (see: ‘Hip Hop Is Dead’, ‘Untitled’), has published an open letter to his label Def Jam – regarding the handling of his new project, ‘Lost Tapes Vol. 2’.

Check it out after the jump…

From: Nas
To: LA Reid, Steve Bartels, Steve Gawley, Michael Seltzer, Joseph Borrino, Chris Hicks

Peace to all,

With all do respect to you all, Nas is NOBODY’s slave. This is not the 1800′s, respect me and I will respect you.

I won’t even tap dance around in an email, I will get right into it. People connect to the Artist @ the end of the day, they don’t connect with the executives. Honestly, nobody even cares what label puts out a great record, they care about who recorded it. Yet time and time again its the executives who always stand in the way of a creative artist’s dream and aspirations. You don’t help draw the truth from my deepest and most inner soul, you don’t even do a great job @ selling it. The #1 problem with DEF JAM is pretty simple and obvious, the executives think they are the stars. You aren’t…. not even close. As a matter of fact, you wish you were, but it didn’t work out so you took a desk job. To the consumer, I COME FIRST. Stop trying to deprive them! I have a fan base that dies for my music and a RAP label that doesn’t understand RAP. Pretty fucked up situation

This isn’t the 90′s though. Beefing with record labels is so 15 years ago. @ this point I just need you all to be very clear where I stand and how I feel about “my label.” I could go on twitter or hot 97 tomorrow and get 100,000 protesters @ your building but I choose to walk my own path my own way because since day one I have been my own man. I did business with Tommy Mottola and Donnie Einer, two of the most psycho dudes this business ever created. I worked well with them for one major reason……. they believed in me. The didn’t give a fuck about what any radio station or magazine said….those dudes had me.

Lost Tapes is a movement and a very important set up piece for my career as it stands. I started this over 5 years ago @ Columbia and nobody knew what it was or what it did but the label put it out as an LP and the fans went crazy for it and I single handlely built a new brand of rap albums. It’s smart and after 5 years it’s still a head of the game. This feels great and you not feeling what I’m feeling is disturbing. Don’t get in the way of my creativity. We are aligned with the stars here, this is a movement. There is a thing called KARMA that comes to haunt you when you tamper with the aligning stars. WE ARE GIVING THE PEOPLE EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT. Stop throwing dog shit on a MAGICAL moment.

You don’t get another Nas recording that doesn’t count against my deal….PERIOD! Keep your bullshit $200,000.00 fund. Open the REAL budget. This is a New York pioneers ALBUM, there ain’t many of us. I am ready to drop in the 4th quarter. You don’t even have shit coming out! Stop being your own worst enemy. Let’s get money!



Do you agree with Nas’ approach?

Your thoughts?

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  1. That Cranberry Sauce October 7, 2010

    Is it really that hard to type ‘at’ Nas? I quit reading honestly.

    Def Jam ain’t s***. L.A. Reid ain’t s***. We’ve known this.

  2. kevin October 7, 2010

    def jam is a sinking ship.

  3. kevin October 7, 2010

    but does anyone think that Nas is a bit cocky?

    fanbase that will die for his music?idk about THAT…………

  4. kevin October 7, 2010

    i feel like not many people give a f*** about what Nas is putting out………..maybe i’m wrong. but i’ve never gone hard for his s***.

  5. kevin October 7, 2010

    This also reminds me of Mariah Carey’s story.

    Going from Columbia —> Def Jam and hating the transition and being disrespected by the label. smh.

  6. Dante J October 7, 2010



  7. pist October 7, 2010

    i with ma niger nas 150%

  8. idrag4mj October 7, 2010

    i love this!!

  9. O LeDoIt October 7, 2010

    Def Jam is a lost cause. no one shoukd ever sign with thern. They ruin careers and dont care about the artist.. L.A. Reid is just the worst

  10. justme October 7, 2010

    They cant release Nas because Def Jam whole budget is in releasing Rihanna albums every year… and they dont even sell like they are suppose to. Put money in other artist Def Jam.. such as Nas, KARINA PASIAN… She is whats next

  11. Soulful Roses October 7, 2010

    Hell Yeah I agree with his approch! All DefScam does is r*** your career, and drop your ass like a hot potato. He had every right to go in like he did.

  12. Huh? October 7, 2010

    @Justme wats ur issue?

  13. Soulful Roses October 7, 2010


  14. KAT DELUNA FAN October 7, 2010

    Tell them why you’re mad bro

  15. BENJAMIN October 7, 2010

    Def Jam forever got problems. I don’t listen to a whole lotta Nas, but I’m feeling what he is saying here. Def Jam once was a credible record label, and it is painful to see what is has become. And they do try to take the consumers for fools, when in reality, they are fooling themselves when nobody buys their albums. Def Jam, and many other record labels are doing the same thing, they think they know what is best for the artist, but all they want is for their product to sound like everything else, so it sells and they get their 70-30% profit. Unless you are their crown jewel Rihanna, this is the case. They don’t care about their dreams. Now watch Def Jam put up some b******* response in return, calling this letter nonsense and “utterly blasphemy.”

  16. J_ Nova October 7, 2010

    LOL @KAT DELUNA FAN, reminded me of the Mad Rapper Skits on BIG’s 2nd album

  17. Lioness October 7, 2010

    Lupe Fiasco is having the same problem with Atlantic. His fans did a petition AND he spoke out about it yesterday. They are planning a protest called FIasco Friday some time soon.

  18. I {heart} music! October 7, 2010

    I support Nas to the fullest! He is my favorite MC…he’s above being just a rapper at this point. His most recent album with Damian Marley gets little to no airplay and it was an epic moment in and for Hip Hop. They publicise the same 5 artsists on radio, tv, blogs, etc. The media dictates what’s hot and what’s not. But lovers of real music (not saying SOME of the music out now is not real music) know why this open letter is so important. And Im glad it’s Nas who is respected, acclaimed, and a TRUE artist so people can take it seriously. He is not the only artist this happens to.

    He always stands up for what he believes in and we have to support him along with all the other artists this same situation applies to.

    @ Kevin “I feel like not many people give a f*** about what Nas is putting out………..maybe i’m wrong. but i’ve never gone hard for his s***.” ………..If you don’t care about what he’s putting out that is fine. The point is if an artist is SIGNED to a label, the label should work for the artist and supply what is necessary to satisfy the artists needs. You vs. 100,000 clearly we know who wins!

  19. Nothing But My Opinion October 7, 2010

    this is what Def Jam wrote back according to mediatakeout lmfao!

    Dear Nas,

    The reason we’re not putting out your album is because nobody’s checkin’ for your music anymore – your whack. If you want it out, you can use your own money (whatever’s left of it, after Kelis gets her chunk) and put it out yourself.

    Then, when it FLOPS, you can lose your own money.

    Best regards,
    Def Jam exec

  20. misty October 7, 2010

    DEAF Jam r just that…deaf! they dont listen 2 their artists or care to see their visions. they r all in one artists ass that they have sacrificed many other talented acts…its sad but true. shyt ask those who got ax’d…fefe dobson, teairra mari…hell ask those who STAYED on the label n aint get nowhere– ameriie, mariah, ne-yo ass aint doin’ too hot. in fact every1 on that label with the exception on one is wellll underpromoted but DEAFJam.

    I dont blame Nas. He’s a lyrical genius and that label has never known how to manage multiple talent at one time. Unlike these other labels that give their artits each time to shine. Hell even dysfunctional young money give all their acts time 4 promo. LA reid needs 2 b fired

  21. Edison Dreams October 7, 2010


    follow me :

  22. Nothing But My Opinion October 7, 2010

    Def Jam a s***** record label. thats all

  23. rebirthofslick October 7, 2010

    Nas is one of my favorite rappers and he is one of the greatest of all time. He is a lyrical genius and I cannot even put into words how much his music means to me. I am a true lover of music and it upsets me that this is happening to Nas and Lupe Fiasco. True lyricists……’s a shame that most of what’s heard on the radio is complete garbage. Real talent should be recognized but people are ignorant and rather listen to something that has no meaning and sounds just like everything else. People really need to start thinking for themselves and stop going along with what everyone else thinks is “hot”. It truly breaks my heart that someone I love so dearly is being destroyed and it just seems to get worse with time. Real music forever lives in my heart. I thank the very few true artists that are left.

  24. rebirthofslick October 7, 2010

    I meant to say “something I love so dearly”…..meaning music.

  25. ADE October 7, 2010

    @Just Me…WHO is Karina Pasian? No one cares about her. I couldn’t even be bothered to read all of that but it’s Nas so im behind him 100%.

  26. teflon boy October 7, 2010

    Some of you might not care simply because the artist complaining is not an artist you stan for but the reality is it could happen to any one of your faves. I couldn’t imagine anything worse than creating a great body of work only to have the label stall for (in some cases years) before they decide to put it out. When you’re up and coming that is quite commonplace but when you are established and your fanbase is proven like Nas’ is then it is a real kick in the teeth. I personally don’t get excited about Nas but his colloration with Damian Marley was nothing short of epic so he has the right to be pissed as hell.

  27. PLAIN AND SIMPLE October 7, 2010

    WOW! I love how NAS called out L,A,Reid/Def Jam. If they would stop putting so much money into Rihanna then they can foucs on their other artists.

    I really love how he spoke about KARMA and it won’t take long either. This is ashame

  28. ~AalexisR~ The Summer King (The Bahamas) October 7, 2010

    Of course I agree with his approach. Def Jam needs to stop. I love how he said they don’t have anything dropping too hahahaa. Kanye, Riri and Mariah are all dropping in November.

    Um to those saying Nas isn’t cared about, yall are retards. He’s critically acclaimed for a reason. Yall stay listening to that periodical s***.

  29. Beyoncestan October 7, 2010

    @ the people hating on Nas.. They are the same one who blast Nicki & Wayne & Drake.

    Have we forgot that Nas destroyed Jay Z ( Im a huge Jay fan) in battle. The reason Nas is not major is because Nas is Hip Hop and you guys love that auto tune young money no talent music that is played on the radio these days.. Hip Hop is dead more than ever!

  30. ~AalexisR~ The Summer King (The Bahamas) October 7, 2010

    That’s what I’m saying @Beyoncestan

  31. Miss Chick Boom October 7, 2010

    I totally agree. Def Jam has lost it’s touch and is nothing but corrupt label heads. They can’t support real artistry but they can support acts like Rihanna, like are you serious. Def Jam is so out of it.

  32. Robier October 7, 2010

    Yess @ Beyoncestan. Nas is being a MAN. Straight to the point. This is a lost art

  33. I & I (yardie style) October 7, 2010

    LOL he writes the truth and so frank at that.

  34. I’m a Fierce Ass B****. How about you? October 7, 2010

    Oh f*** nas ol washed up ass. Ain’t nobody checkin for his lunatic phsyco ass no ways. It is 2010 u better take that reveoluntionary music back to the 60s u ol non rapping wannabe activisit ass.

  35. annie October 7, 2010

    Def Jam itself is a losing battle. Nas is keeping it real and telling the truth. Nothing wrong with exposing people and their shady asses.

  36. However October 7, 2010

    Nas is a lyrical genius to say the least. His music is both empowering and thought provoking so to some of you who say that no one is checking for Nas, you’re out of your little tiny auto tuned frazzled minds. Nas has classics that even your faves still bump. The music today is poo poo being whirled down the toilet. Everyone is talking about s**, money, and violence as if they’re really in the streets doing these things. Nas talks about liberation, Blacks being kings and queens, and Black leaders that your textbooks have failed to mention. I agree with Nas and @BeyonceStand when said that Hip Hop is dead! Especially when coked out Lil Wayne is said to be one of the best rappers alive. Nas defeated JAY-Z in a rap battle come on now that says a lot. I look at Nas as the rapper that can fill 2 pac’s shoes with his visions and continue the movement that 2pac started, provided that he had the proper label behind him.

  37. mj October 7, 2010


  38. gh_Mikie October 7, 2010

    @KEVIN: you’re silly, you obviously have never listened to or know what true hip hop is-SHAME! you shouldn’t embarrass yourself publicly like that by showing everyone your ignorance.
    ON NAS AND KARMA-thats kinda funny that HE should speak on KARMA.


    PLEASE,PLEASE,PLEASE!!! STOP USING @ INSTEAD OF ‘AT’, ITS A TWO LETTER WORD, NOT HARD TO TYPE. really, I couldnt take you seriously with every other word being short handed into @…argh!

  39. ??/ October 7, 2010

    Nas is a true artist and his gift is bigger than Def Jam. Nas is no dummy and this will work in his favor trust!

  40. AuntieJackie October 7, 2010


    Nas has a point. But I can honestly say that even though he’s a genius, most people don’t want to hear that kind of music anymore.

    Def Jam is about Rihanna and her Navy. Period. They are going to milk her for every cent they can get (mostly money from her endorsements) and they can give a f*** about Nas…..because he has a very specific audience.

  41. Real Tea October 7, 2010

    I think the end of the world is near when Soulja Boi makes more money than Nas….. America is stupid. We deny gay people rights, we kill in order to get freedom, and we endorse s***** music that will inject the community with violence and retardation. All these dudes walking around and constantly speaking Slang and mixed words. How do you apply for a job? At least Nas is respectable and stands up for black people. What has 50 cent, Rick Ross, Gucci Mane , or Whacka Flake Flame done besides stupify youth and feed you ignorance? You people need to listen to Nas.

  42. I strive for life October 7, 2010


    All this talk about what the public wants is bogus.

    The one’s running this are the label execs.

    For instance, radio stations
    play the same song about 200+ times a day, do you think people are
    requesting those songs?


    Some if not most of those songs are hated by music fans and are getting
    heavy rotation because those same label execs are sliding money under
    the table and paying for those excessive spins.

    So with that said, riddle me this: how can the buying public have much
    of a choice when the music they want to hear is hardly being presented
    to them? When yuou hear a song long enough even if you hate it, you will
    find yourself humming to the song and that’s because it’s been shoved
    down your throat and you don’t have much of a choice to eat.

    The situation is similar to a tree falling in a forest and no one
    being around to hear it. Music that Nas wants to release is there, but how will we know if it isn’t

    He has every right to speak out about it. Record labels aren’t interested
    in being innovative this day, they are looking to stick with what they know
    and profit off of what they know will work.

    Read more: Nas Goes In On Def Jam In Email | Necole

  43. True Blue October 7, 2010

    F*** yes. I totally agree with him. The music industry is in a state of crisis right now, records sales are at an all-time low, execs are scrambling to make a profit. Of course, those dumbass execs don’t realize that they are continually shooting themselves in the foot. They keep signing the same no-talent artists whose image and sound they control, and then when it doesn’t produce the success that they expected, they scratch their heads and wonder why it didn’t work.

    I have a brilliant idea that will save the industry: How about you sign talented artists, allow them to make the music that THEY want to make, allow radio stations to play those artists, and let the consumer have variety of music they can choose from? I’m not at all saying get rid of the manufactured pop and hip-hop stars, but I mean damn, how about you allow us to AT LEAST have choices?

  44. True Blue October 7, 2010

    And on a side note: does anyone know when Lupe Fiaco’s Lasers is coming out? It’s been since last year that the album was announced, and it still hasn’t been released. Atlantic Records BETTER not be the reason it’s still not out.

  45. LUV-LEE October 7, 2010

    YES!!!! I agree with his approach and his comments!!! MUSIC SUX TODAY!!!!!!! And a majority of artists out today are Def Jam artists!! Coincidence??? Nas is REAL HIP HOP!!! Something that we are lacking and IF there are people who think he is “washed up” or “don’t nobody wanna hear from you” must be part of the Lil’ Wayne Generation.

    Remeber Nas is the ONLY RAPPER that has ever beat Jay-Z in a rap battle. Nas had that n**** Jay-Z calling into Angie Martinez’s show on Hot97 border line crying after he first hear Ether!!!

    Look at what Def Jam did to Janet!!!! How the hell they treat a LEGEND like that??? Just last night at EL DeBARGES SHOW AT SOB’S (I was there 😀 ) I heard his opening act Shareefa refer to Def Jam as “DEATH TRAP”.

  46. JAZ0195 October 7, 2010

    So def jam is being exposed huh. well for some reason I’m not suprised I just see them as being full of s*** and scams.smh

  47. Amy October 8, 2010

    naz didn’t “destroy” anybody in any “battle” (I barely considered it a battle), but his damn self. I’m convinced people say that ish because they heard “others” say that B.S. like when people say Biggie and/or Pac is the “greatest” or Jay, Em and/or Wayne are the “Best”, wheh in actuallity none are because there too many talented folks to decipher “the best” or “greatest”. Jay-z lyrically bodied naz with ‘Takeover’ when he cleverly summed up naz’s career with just ONE verse and naz made a whole song with elementary jokes. Jay had facts while naz was drumming up lies and the typical ‘homo’ accusation for a laugh. Which eventually made Jay bring up his baby mama. Everything that Jay said has been proven to be true, so how did naz “defeat” or “destroy” Jay? Especially since Jay is the last one standing and STILL has a career after all these years? And don’t gimme that lame “naz is real hip hop” excuse that people always like to use.

  48. Amy October 8, 2010

    And Lol at the naz stans who are still holding on to ‘Ether’ and claiming that Jay called the station crying. Jay wasn’t crying you idiot. Why would he call the station to cry? I swear people only hear and believe what they want. If that’s the case then lets say Jay’s d*** was so good that it had naz,s baby mama writing books. Now that’s a “defeat”. Lmao!

  49. haha October 8, 2010

    At Amy Jay damn sure was whinning on live radio….Nas told the truth as well and stop trying to stan for Jay the same thing you are accusing others are trying to do for Nas! But here is proof that Jay was whinning:

  50. OH YES!!!! October 8, 2010

    Nas is GREAT!

  51. haha/OH YES!!!! same person sorry October 8, 2010

    Jay is GREAT as well!

  52. Blue Kid October 8, 2010

    Def Jem is not about bring people to consciousness and that is what Nas is about, he will wake the sheeple up.
    Def Jem is about dumbing down and keeping the sheeples a sleep.
    Nas is an intelligent man, right now it’s about what Jazy wants and Nas is not in that picture.

    Jayz = Rihanna + JayZ ROFL!

  53. Blue Kid October 8, 2010

    Nas, is right Karma is a mother fu@ker!

  54. vegasgirl October 8, 2010

    I agree with Nas’s letter and him publishing an open letter to the execs at Def Jam. Too many artists are silent and compliant about how they are treated behind the scenes, they really are slaves/property of the label, not partners at all. But when an artist decides to attempt to take control over their career (sound, image,etc) they are often shelved ,stalled and/or dropped ( I believe all the labels do this not just Def Jam). Even if this album never sees the light of day at least he went out fighting. All labels are about the bottom line-profit, so artistry is tossed, that’s why they run to the same people for hits ( and then leaving us to wonder why everything sounds the same). Gaga’s song “Paper Gangsta” is about her experience with Def Jam and their b*******.

    Take a look at Def Jam’s roster and see how many people are signed that haven’t released anything in a few years or anything at all. Look at Def Jam’s old roster and see how many artists aren’t there anymore. Kinda shocking. Def Jam used to be a hip hop/rap label but not anymore…there’s nothing wrong with expanding, but don’t abandon your core audience. They are hanging their success on a few people and disregarding the others, not smart because what happens when the artists decides to leave (ex: Jay Z), their fanbase will leave also. Nas is right, its not about them, its about the artist and the audience. I love when he says they aren’t the stars, even though most of them tried – L.A. Reid anyone?

  55. PLAIN AND SIMPLE October 8, 2010

    Yes Jay and Def Jam is going to see KARMA with Rihanna. That’s going to be the downfall of all times. KARMA

  56. antertain October 8, 2010

    Def Jam used to be so far ahead in the Hip-Hop Label stakes and now all it depends on is a POP artist in Rihanna and an R&B artist in Ne-Yo..

    Obviously theres people like Kanye & Luda that are on branch off labels linked to Def Jam BUT who in the last 5 years of Hip-Hop have Def Jam made it big??

    Rick Ross, Luda maybe? Fabolous? Big Boi (Outkast) ? Jeezy? Nas? None of these Artist have reached expected sales targets on Def Jam.

    I know when Nas went there he wanted to be apart of the rebirth of Def Jam but their promotional style has fell of BADLY.

    They controlling the artistry of the rappers and that’s where they go wrong.

    I should not be hearing more about R&B/Pop than Hip-Hop on that label and plus they should have most of the R&B peeps on the Def Soul/Urban imprint.

    SHAKE UP REQUIRED!!! They have turned into Capitol records (oooh Loooorrrrdddddd)

  57. Luv-Lee October 8, 2010

    Amy are you a white girl from the suburbs?? LMAO!!!! Like I always say… People who don’t know anything about hip-hop really shouldn’t be commenting on it. Or else you start making a fool of yourself like Amy. SMH… #ican’t

  58. HTFHG October 8, 2010


  59. Spunkypoop October 8, 2010

    NAS I feel you!!! Im a fan been since day 1. HE deserves to be treated like royalty! dude been sout since forever and has a strong fanbase. He is a Legend in Rap! I want to hear new Nas and It’s a shame what DEF JAM has become. Voice that opinion Nasir Jones!

    Def Jam is pathetic….if your not RiRi, Ne-Yo, or that other s***! (lol) Your nothing. Too bad….Let’s PROTEST!

  60. Rohan October 22, 2010

    Nas point is clear that he needs to make good music for his fans and the bosses at DefJam is messing with that. To make a good album takes time and a lot of creativity. Not some rush process and that sounds played out. Nas is a man of his word and I like the fact that he is willing to stand up for his creative rights as an Artist.

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