Steve Stoute recalls the story behind Nas' legendary diss track.
Steve Stoute's been in the game for years and is one of the most prominent moguls in the game. His career has spanned for decades and he's been involved with some of the biggest rappers in the game such as Jay-Z, Nas and Kanye West. He actually managed Nas earlier in his career and was around during the whole Jay-Z/Nas mega beef that occurred. He recently paid a visit, alongside Tone of Trackmasters, to N.O.R.E and DJ EFN's "Drink Champs" podcast where they got real deep about one of Nas' "Ether."
Once the topic came up in their conversation, Tone admitted that Jay-Z's "Takeover" had him nervous for Nas, even going as far as saying he thought "Nas was done" after seeing it at the Summer Jam stage and watching him perform it live. However, Steve Stoute chimed in, who was working with Nas on Stillmatic at the time, said "nervous was an understatement." He mentions that around the same time, he and Jay had a budding friendship but he felt betrayed after hearing "Takeover." Regardless, the single itself had Stoute nervous for Nas' career.
"I was nervous, I thought Nas' career was over," Stoute said. He admitted that Nas' personal life was conflicting with his professional life. However, he said he gave Nas' the beat for "Ether" for the sake of him using it for his album but he said Nas wasn't feeling it. Around the same time, the two of them weren't on speaking terms and Stoute wouldn't hear what Nas has been working on for the album until a day before it was sent for mastering.
"He calls me in, the album is about to go to mastering and I go to the studio and he plays me Ether. It's like 2 in morning. And he uses that beat," Stoute said, "The fact that he called me to the studio the night before mastering was because he wanted me to hear, like 'Did i go too far? Is this fucked up?"
Stoute said despite the fact that he and Nas weren't even on good terms at the time, he took off his jacket in the studio and told them they had to fix it. "This is a mess. If this shit comes out, you're career is over," Stoute recalled, "And he made the record. But there was a different version with the same beat that was terrible, it was horrible. And like, it was the proper response for what he was in."
Stoute later applauded the Jay-Z and Nas for coming out of the beef on proper terms without any actual violence occurring.
You could watch the full interview here and the "Ether" story around the 41:30 mark :