In addition to hosting Go 95.3’s Morning Show and our Shut Up and Rap series, Auggie 5000 occasionally makes time to attend listening parties from the biggest names in hip-hop. Check out Auggie’s recap of his trip to NYC to attend Nas’ listening party for Nasir below!
My friend Tomas just reminded me about how he played me “Rewind”, off of Nas’ classic album Stillmatic, for the first time. He had bought the album first, and at work that day he told an 18 year old me that “Rewind” was unlike any song he had heard. It was a story told backwards! Nobody, not even Quentin Tarantino, had told a story backwards like that. To our memory at least.
Nas has always pushed the boundaries of creativity within music. On that same album, he evoked a powerful feeling of immediacy on the song “One Mic.” I had never heard someone play with volume dynamics in a rap song the way that he had. On 1996’s It Was Written, Nas wrote a song from the perspective of a gun, “I Gave You Power,” which influenced 2Pac to write a song about treating his gun like a lover in “Me And My Girlfriend.” I can go on and on about Nas and his influence. He’s been one of my favorite artists for 20 years.
So, when I got the invite from Nas’ camp to go preview the new album Nasir, I was ecstatic! I get to go to Nas’ hometown, to hear his first album in 6 years! Not to mention this album is something like a dream come true.Over a year ago, Sophia and I were talking about Nas and how some of his best work was with Kanye West on the boards, and that his very next album needs to be a collaboration between the two! Somehow they heard us! Our dream came true!
Now about Kanye, the announcement of this album was bittersweet; spoiled a bit by Kanye’s antics on twitter and on TMZ. However, this trip wasn’t about Kanye for me. It was about Nasir Jones.
That entire day I felt like a kid going to the first day of school. I was excited at a new opportunity. I haven’t been to a major album listening party before!
Like the other G.O.O.D. Music listening parties this month, this party was shrouded in mystery until the very last moment. I thought it was in Brooklyn until the night before, and didn’t get any details until I arrived in New York. Upon arrival, I met up with Def Jam reps and other music industry people then we were whisked away in large black vans and weren’t told exactly where we were going. We only knew that we were going to Queens. A half hour later, we were brought to a gravel pit underneath the Queensboro Bridge, looking over the East River to the NYC skyline. It was a beautiful backdrop.
In this gravel pit, there were military Humvees scattered around. There were camouflaged tents, each housing either merchandise or refreshments. On one side of the pit, opposite of the bridge, was a roped off area with FEMA tents. I found out later that this was Kanye and Nas’ area. Adjacent to the river was an area with huge speakers in a circle, kind of like a modern Stonehenge. This was where it was going to go down.
While we waited, we enjoyed the refreshments that were provided and watched as some of rap’s elite walked in. Waka Flocka came in first, followed by Pusha T. Waka kind of snuck in, but when Push arrived it was like the mayor walked in. A crowd formed around him immediately. I shook his hand, and told him thanks for a fun couple of weeks. He chuckled. Not long after that, Fabolous, Rick Ross and 2 Chainz walked in. They went immediately to Kanye & Nas’ area.
People started to make their way to the Rap-henge (You like that huh?), and not long after that a Humvee pulls up in the center of it and out comes Kanye. Chaos erupted. Music started playing at eardrum-shattering levels. Then it stopped. The crowd groaned and clamored for the music to come back on. Then it did. It was electric! People were bouncing around the hosts, and I struggled to see. I wanted to get a better look.
I look at the truck that Kanye had pulled up in, and there were a couple of people standing on the back of it. It looked like there was some room up there so I went over there and climb up to get a solid view of the festivities, and a man that looked like security immediately kicked me off of the truck. So I went back to where I was and looked at the people on the truck. It was Kim K and Lala! I honestly had no idea it was them.
The album plays out and I decide that “Cops Shot The Kid” was my favorite jam from it, just from the energy that I felt while it played. They decide to run the album back a second time, and Kim stays long enough to hear that song again, then decides to leave. Before she leaves, she decides to give the people below the truck an opportunity to nab some photos. She stands above everyone like a dictator who also just won a gold medal at the Olympics.
The album plays out a second time, then begins a third. Our hosts decide not to continue a little bit after it started for the third time.
I was left with my ears ringing and my face glowing from a time to remember! I feel like I was a part of history! And I got to take Minnesota with me!