On the Broken Atoms podcast, Ras Kass reminisces on the insane day that "Ether" dropped, when he ran into both Nas and Jay-Z.
Ras Kass is a respected OG in the game, having proven himself as one of the west coast's best lyricists with records like Soul On Ice, Rassassination, and the lost Van Gogh. Now, Ras Kass took a moment to chop it up with the rising hip-hop podcast Breaking Atoms, hosted by Sumit and Chris. Over the course of the history-filled conversation, Ras Kass shares a variety of crazy stories and gems, including a detailed recollection of his experience recording in New York the day Nas dropped "Ether."
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Around the forty-six minute mark, Ras Kass reflects on working with DJ Premier for the first time, a song that would go on to be "Goldyn Child." As it happened, the recording session also happened to land on the same day Nas decided to drop off "Ether," his retaliatory shot to Jay-Z's "Takeover." "Flex played that record three times in the morning," remembers Ras. "By the time I got to barbershop at ten AM, that is the word on the street...At this time, Jay-Z runs New York, period." He proceeds to reflect on how the climate was much more favorable toward Jay-Z, though "Ether" was swiftly changing the tide.
"I remember texting my A&R like 'Nas just dropped a song, and I think it's a wrap,'" he continues. "This shit crazy. I got my hair cut and went to D&D, I'm sitting with Premier, and he's like 'Yo, did you hear the 'Ether'?' I'm like yeah." He laughs. "We start talking, we're in Premier's room, and in walks Nas -- boppin'. So that's crazy. I see Nas the day he dropped "Ether." He's next door, doing something for Don Diva magazine. So it's literally me, Nas and Premier talking for like an hour. Having this real emcee conversation. Crazy."
"Then, Nas goes in his room after an hour or so, and Premier is like 'aight let me cook up a bit,'" he continues. "I'm talking to Preem, and he's telling these stories of when Biggie did 'Kick In The Door.' He's telling me all these stories, how Nas did a perfect take on 'New York State Of Mind.' Perfect verse, laid that shit, no mistakes. Biggie, perfect take. He was with some bitches, he came out, perfect take, wrapped it and gunned it. Only two, at that time. I was like man, fuck that!"
After Premier previewed a few possible beats, Ras gravitated toward one in particular -- unfortunately, Jay-Z had already bought the beat, despite having never used it. "To his credit, Preem called Jay, and he let me have it," says Ras Kass. "I got in the booth, and one-take Willied it." After he left the studio that evening, Ras ended up hitting the club. "And guess who is outside with us?" he reveals. "Dame Dash and Jay-Z. I'm like, this is a strange day! This is crazy!"
From the sound of it, things only got crazier. "They played 'Ether' in the club, and Jay-Z goes ballistic," says Ras. "And Dame goes up to the DJ like "turn that shit off." But dude wouldn't turn it off, and that's when I knew it was a wrap. That's when I knew Nas won. That was a crazy day."
Check out the full podcast below.