The compilation arrives July 19th, 17 years after the highly acclaimed first installment, which collected unreleased tracks from Nas’ 1999 album I Am… and 2001’s Stillmatic. While the follow-up was expected soon after, the project was repeatedly delayed and as Nas explained, “I really didn’t know what to do these songs because they weren’t really the songs that I wanted to put on a record. They were just sitting there and I always thought I’d come back to them and finish them up later, but it never happened. So I’m sitting here with all these songs starting to pile up and I’m like, ‘Oh I did a Lost Tapes album 17 years ago, I think it’s time for another one.’”
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The Lost Tapes 2 collects unreleased tracks made during the sessions for 2006’s Hip-Hop is Dead, 2008’s Untitled, 2012’s Life Is Good and 2018’s Nasir. Nas noted that the track list isn’t in any particular chronological order, adding, “You kinda gotta guess like, ‘What year did he make this one?’ Some of the songs are like 10 years old, 12 years old, and some of them are as early as a year-and-a-half ago.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Nas spoke about his upcoming tour with Mary J. Blige, his work on a hip-hop museum in the Bronx that will potentially break ground this year and living through hip-hop’s dramatic shift from underground to mainstream. “I thought it would [get to this point],” Nas said, “but I didn’t know it would be a reality. I was hopeful that it would turn out to be this way and that I would be around to see it happen — and thank God I am, because it’s a great time to be a hip-hop artist.”
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