Despite all the controversy over Summer Jam, Nas went through with his surprise performance at MetLife Stadium, bringing Lauryn Hill with him. The New York veteran, who was originally supposed to appear during Nicki Minaj’s headlining set, spoke with rap-up about returning to the Summer Jam stage for the first time in nearly a decade, reuniting with L-Boogie, and his thoughts on Nicki’s cancellation.
Nas butted heats with Hot 97 during his performance at Summer Jam in 2001 when he was beefing with Jay-Z. But he remained neutral this time around, showing support for both camps. Hear what the Don had to say.
What was it like to touch down on the Summer Jam stage?
It was magic. I didn’t want to be announced. I wanted to keep it quiet, a surprise for people. It was an honor to do it again because I haven’t done it in years.
How did you get Lauryn Hill to come out?
Nicki had asked me to come out during her set and so I figured that would be a great way to go into my show. I only wanted to bring out Lauryn during my set, so she was with it. That’s my sister.
Have you kept in touch with her over the years?
I don’t really keep in touch with anyone except my family. Artists, we’re too busy to be in touch, but we’ve seen each other through the years and it’s just love.
Can we expect another collaboration between the two of you?
I don’t know. She’s amazing. I’d love to.
What do you make of the whole YMCMB vs. Hot 97 drama?
I’ve been there before and things like that happen every couple of years. I guess this is the second time something has happened like that between the artist and the radio station. We don’t always agree and the nature of hip-hop can be aggressive and get real gangsta on you now and then. That’s just what it is. These things happen.
Lauryn wrote a letter in support of Nicki. Do you stand by her decision not to perform?
[YMCMB’s] situation was different than mine and I’m not clear on all of it, but of course when it happened with me years ago, it was based on the Jay-Z drama and a whole bunch of other stuff. Her situation is based on something different between her and her camp. Eventually I got cool with Hot 97 and they got cool with me. It’s one hip-hop family, and that’s how it should be at the end of the day.
Did you speak to Nicki about the situation?
I think it was just really messy. When you’re in the heat of that moment, no one has time to inform anybody, but we spoke after briefly and it seemed like it was a crazy situation for her to handle. When put in that position, it’s no easy thing and I guess I was in support of her, in support of Hot 97. I’ve been there before, so at the end of the day, it could be fixed. It’s one hip-hop family, let’s unify it.