Advertisement

Nas Rips Local MC?

Nas Rips Local MC?

Two rappers working off the same sample is business as usual, but we had to do a double take on this one. Last week local MC

brought to our attention that a new Nas cut, "Surviving the Times," is—intentionally or not—a pretty close rip of his own track "As the Art Fades Away." At the foundation of both is a sampled hook from

Advertisement

The Wiz

song "What Would I Do." The beats are kinda similar, too, considering they're both disposable; no matter. Wordsmith points out some other things—the same sample (albeit used

way

differently) opens both, and they both have the didactic "state of the game" theme going—but he may be stretching on those points. The big question: If Nas did rip Wordsmith, how did he find "As the Art Fades Away" in the first place? Word's unsigned and relatively unknown outside Baltimore. According to the e-mail he sent

City Paper

, Wordsmith has a mutual friend with Nas' producer Chris Webber—yes, the NBA player moonlights as a hackish (regardless of this incident) rap producer—and sent this mutual friend a link to his

, who sent it to Webber, who produced "Surviving the Times." In short, Wordsmith claims that Webber risked the cred of one of the biggest names in rap for a tip on a sample. Hack or not, we're not sure the former Michigan Wolverine is that dumb. Wordsmith and a Nas rep had

about it, and it sounds like the rep managed to scare the shit out of Word, forcing a retraction of the original claim of artistic theft, reducing the Baltimore MC to massive back-pedaling. "I guess I just wanted an explanation. I just wanted to be shot down, to be honest with you. I'm not here to assassinate Nas' or Chris Webber's character," he explained toward the end of the coversation. However bad Wordsmith got shot down, there's at least something in that he caught Nas' attention enough for the conversation to happen (though judging from the transcription it lasted less than 10 minutes.) "As the Art Fades Away" is still set to be released on Wordsmith's upcoming album (which is still being shopped, but we have high hopes), albeit stripped of the sample in question. "I feel like my version of the track is stronger, and my new version blows my old version away," he told us yesterday via e-mail. "[And] I would still be able to get the rights to the track as well," he adds, as opposed to the legally dubious first version with the unlicensed sample. The old track can still be found on Wordsmith's MySpace page and a hip-hop compilation put out by Baltimore online clothing shop

. Here's Wordsmith's original statement:

Where to find the tracks in question:

Photo: Wordsmith. From his 'space

Advertisement
Advertisement