Rap veteran Nas recently reflected on the making of 2006’s Hip Hop Is Dead album and why he initially envisioned getting super producers Dr. Dre and Kanye West behind “Black Republican.”

Describing his first joint Jay-Z record since they squashed their early 2000’s rap beef, Nas said the instrumental had to be beyond average-sounding.

“It was a party. Not like tons of people. Easy party. That was actually us warming up to working together. We never got a chance. Maybe I over-thought it. I needed the beat. I mean, we needed the beat to be crazy. We wanted Dre to do it, then we wanted ‘Ye to do it. And I had a timeline and sh*t. It never would have came out, so I go back to the thought of, “This is rap music. This is bangin’ on the lunchroom table and makin’ a freestyle, so, don’t over-think it. Here it is. Take it, guys. This is what it is.” We wanted to get off a crazier joint, but never got around to it.” (XXL Mag)

Nas and Jay’s record initially leaked online in mid-November 2006.

In the hip-hop world, the past week or so has been all about leaks. Jay-Z and the Clipse both saw their new material leaked, and even Nas felt the swift hand of the black market when the highly anticipated collaboration between him and Jay hit the ‘Net. In his verse, Jay talks about a friendship gone wrong. “Never thought we’d sing the same song that all ‘hoods sing/ We wouldn’t bicker like the other fools, talk good game/ Never imagine all the disaster that one good reign could bring.” Nas comes with pavement poetics: “Standing on the roof of my building/ I’m feeling the whirlwind of beef, I inhale it/ Just like an acrobat/ Ready to hurl myself through the hoops of fire/ Sippin’ 80 proof, bulletproof under my attire.” (MTV)

Nas’ controversial Hip Hop Is Dead album was released in late 2006.

Hip Hop Is Dead is the eighth studio album by American rapper Nas, released December 15, 2006 on Def Jam Recordings. His first album for the label, it was co-financed by Nas’ previous label, Columbia Records, which once distributed for Def Jam. The album’s title was inspired by Nas’ view of the music industry and the state of hip hop music at the time. (Wikipedia)

Last year, the rap veteran said despite the album title, he feels rap music still exists.

“It died several times, but I do believe in the heartbeat of it right now,” Nas said in an interview. “There are a lot of new artists, and artists that have been around, who are kicking a** right now. I just wanted to give a boost to people and to myself, to push people to go harder. It’s a different world now.” (Wall Street Journal)

Check out “Black Republican” below: