Nas & DJ Premier slide through with the effortless “Define My Name”, announce long, long awaited LP

Am I late? Well, at risk of sounding dramatic (this moment merits drama!), some things take a moment to feel real.

Fans have dreamed of a full-length collaboration between Nas and DJ Premier ever since the latter laced a then fledgling MC with some of the most classic cuts on Illmatic: an album solely composed of classics to begin with, needless to say.

The idea became closer to a possible reality during the press cycle leading up to 2006’s bitterly divisive Hip Hop is Dead, with Nas speaking on not wanting to “rush” an LP with his fellow legend. Shreds of information were few and far between for years after that. Personally, I can recall checking either artist’s Wikipedia page for years and glancing longingly at the “Nas & DJ Premier LP – TBA” footnote.

It may not have reached the mythic status of an unreleased Dr. Dre project (let’s set Detox the hell aside for a moment, I want that damn Sticky Fingaz LP! The original Statlanta, too.), but there’s a simple reason it’s stayed so prominent in the minds of aging rap nerds: an album full of classic Boom bap Premo with Nas over it all. There’s really no need to elaborate, especially with Premier recently proving just how still in step he is with his posthumous Gang Starr effort in 2019.

So, then, the arrival of “Define My Name” feels like a promise delivered late, yet just in time. It’s clear Premo is taking the assignment seriously: this is not one of the charity beats he tosses out to smaller projects, the beat is classic Premier, a deceptively simple loop and his essential cutting, doing nothing it doesn’t have to, and everything it needs to.

Nas, meanwhile, is feeling both boastful and reflective, nimbly hopping between reminiscing and asserting his long-term dominance, giving himself a friendly dressing down for once imagining rapping in his later life would be corny. Even the song’s title is reverential: a nod to the pair’s 1999 classic, “Nas is Like”.

While the pair remain understandably cagey on details, dodging sharing an album title or drop date – gotta create that hype! – they have confirmed the album is due later this year via Mass Appeal. All that remains for us to do is bide our time and enjoy “Define My Name.” Check it out below.