Nas, you may be aware, is like an Afrocentric Asian. Half man, half amazin’. True story–and one that you love to hear told again and again, especially as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Nasir Jones’ stellar 1994 debut Illmatic with grand live performances, a documentary film and, of course, the release of the deluxe double disc Illmatic XX reissue.
Of course the closest to the motherfv!kin hearts of DJs and record nerds (hi) maybe that Disc 2 of the double disc reissue–the X factor in Illmatic XX, if you will–which consists of b-sides, rarities and unreleased gems. As the April 15th release date approaches, team Nasir has been unveiling some of those family jew-elz, one by one. We’ve already gone down memory lane with an unreleased 1993 WKCR freestyle from Stretch & Bobbito’s radio show and Large Professor‘s classic remix and today Okayplayer is proud to host the web premiere of another remix rarity: the “Laidback Remix” of “It Ain’t Hard To Tell”–known to owners of the red & white label 12″ vinyl as one of the coveted “UK Remixes.” Produced by The Creators (if you’re a DJ or as record-nerdy as me, you may remember them from their “Hard Margin” 12″ featuring Mos Def and Talib Kweli. Them nah easy.)
The filtered bassline and lazy horn loops of the Laidback beat transform the lyrics of Nas’ MTV debut from ghetto fabulous manifesto to a jeep beat, if the jeep was en route from Queensbridge to a picnic in Fort Greene park; the perfect soundtrack for washing your truck on a cloudy Spring day that’s threatening to turn sunny. Enjoy below, stay tuned for the release of Illmatic XX and keep an eye out for jake, shorty wop. One Love.
PS Aspiring creatives, please take note: our close personal homies over at Mass Appeal (god bless their life) are teaming with NaS to offer you a chance to “Represent” your cinematic skills by directing your own video for, yes, the DJ Premier-produced Illmatic thief’s theme titled “Represent.” Get details on how to enter here.