Nas Says Prince's Reason For Refusing To Collaborate On A Song Made Him Move About The Music Industry More Wisely
During a podcast interview, Nas said Prince opened his mind to the future of the music business all while shooting down his request for a feature.
July 26, 2019 at 5:22 pm
Nas added to the catalog on Thursday during an interview on the famed Drink Champs podcast.
Nas is making the media rounds while he promotes his new album The Lost Tapes 2. Podcast hosts N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN peppered the rap legend with questions about his career, working with Kanye West and features he wished he could have gotten.
It took Nas a minute to think of a feature he missed out on, but the rapper thought back to an interaction with Prince that affected how he looked at the music industry. At his album release party for I Am… in 1999, Nas approached Prince about collaborating on a song.
"I pulled a N.O.R.E. move, I said, 'Yo, look man, let's do this. Let's do this song.' And he was like, 'Do you own your masters?' But he blew my shit, because I was like, 'I don't,'" he said as the audience roared with laughter.
"And I'm far from it, 'cause I owe this label bout four, five albums. So I was like, 'Damn.'"
DJ EFN chimed in to note that Prince was known, and widely criticized during his time, for his insistence on owning his own masters. Prince is now seen as a pioneer in the music industry for his stance on masters, and his position becomes even more prescient as we watch major acts like Taylor Swift still struggle with music ownership.
— billboard (@billboard) July 3, 2019
Prince spent decades battling with record labels over onerous music production schedules and outrageous contracts. He eventually was able to gain full control of all his music and release it when and where he wanted.
Nas said it definitely hurt for Prince to throw that shade his way, but it was honest and changed his perspective on how to approach music labels.
"He dropped a jewel, he kind of helped me see the future and he was like, 'When you own your masters, give me a ring'. But we kicked it a few times. We got cool, he was a very cool dude to me," he said.
"He invited me on stage to perform. […] I think everybody wanted to work with him, so the pressure that he had from everybody…He turned Michael Jackson down! The pressure he had from people who wanted to work with him was crazy."