Nas - 'The Death of Escobar' (found rap album; 2001)
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|Cover art of the album.|
|Status|| Found (original tracklisting, bootlegs)|
Lost (original copies)
The Death of Escobar (abbreviated as D.O.E.) is a 2001 unreleased concept album by New York-based rapper Nas. The title is a reference to Nas's alternative persona of Nas Escobar, which was seen as a much more mainstream appealing alter ego by fans.
For over a decade, much information about the album was unknown. Pictures of the purported album had surfaced through the internet for a decade and had a barcode provided as well, which meant that there was planned distribution for the album. Nonetheless, for years, the album was debated by hip hop heads for years, whether it was the working title for Nas's eventual December 2001 release Stillmatic, a cancelled concept album, or was a fan-made fake.
In 2014, The Lost Tapes Blog, run by claaa7, revealed that in fact, the album was real, and was intended to be the first part of the Stillmatic album, but was cancelled before it was released, and instead re-released, and re-titled, as The Lost Tapes in 2002.
During the early 2000s, Nas's career was in a state of flux. Nas's I Am... and Nastradamus were seen as critical failures, In 2001, Jay-Z (who at the time was Nas's rival, though now friend) partly released his diss on Nas called Takeover at the 2001 Summer Jam.
Nas needed to respond to the pressure. In 2000, Nas started working on his new album. In early 2001, an email message was sent to those who had subscribed to Sony Music Street Team UK's email newsletter:
"THE FORTHCOMING NAS ALBUM IS ON HOLD AT THE MOMENT, HERE'S THE LATEST PLAN" - "Nas wants to release 'Death of Escobar' first with 'Stillmatic' to follow. 'Death of Escobar' is the bootleg/sessions project. The project will feature the tracklisting below plus three new tracks. This tracklisting could and probably will change. The three new tracks will explain Escobar's death." "No music has been discussed or recorded for 'Stillmatic'. In a best case scenario, the album will be released June 2001."
From this, we can conclude that Death of Escobar was likely some kind of introduction album, explaining the death of Nas's alter-ego, while Stillmatic was intended to be a re-birth album, with contrasting styles respectively.
During this time the VIBE Magazine actually reviewed the album before its release. Despite the positive reception, Death of Escobar was cancelled, and it was likely to focus entirely on the Stillmatic album instead. The album would be released under the title of The Lost Tapes in 2002.
A bootleg has existed on Discogs since 2011-12, with only a speculated tracklist. This is not an authentic copy, and it seems studio copies for the project have not turned up. It's unknown how many variants exist, or if any bootlegs might be the real copy.
According to claa7's post, this was the intended tracklist.
- 01. "My Way" [prod. by Alchemist]
- 02. "You Don't Know Me (Hardest Thing 2 Do)" [prod. by Poke & Tone]
- 03. "Your Mouth Got You In It" [prod. by Dame Grease]
- 04. "Rise & Fall" [prod. by Poke & Tone]
- 05. "U Gotta Love It" [prod. by L.E.S.]
- 06. "Make It Last Forever" [prod. by L.E.S.]
- 07. "Worst Enemy is Me" [prod. by Infinite Arkatechtz]
- 08. "The Foulness (Interlude)" [prod. by Poke & Tone]
- 09. "Sinful Living (Street Dreams Remix)" (Ft. R. Kelly) [prod. by Poke & Tone]
- 10. "Never Gonna Give It Up" (Ft. Product G&B) [prod. by Al West]
- 11. "Tales From Da Hood" [prod. by Curt Gowdy]
- 12. "Drunk By Myself" [prod. by Poke & Tone + Al West]
- 13. "Hard 2 Tell - Remix" [prod. by Large Professor]
- 14. "Projects 2 Hot" (Ft. 50 Cent & Nature) [prod. by CHOP DIESEL]
- 15. "Poppa Was A Playa" [prod. by Deric Angelettie & Kanye West]
- 16. "Seeds Of Heaven" [prod. by Infintie Arkatechtz]
- Tracks 1, 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, and 15 would appear on The Lost Tapes, albeit a few with altered names, and 7 & 13 being only available in Japan and other markets.
- This was 50 Cent's intended debut on a major album; the song "Projects Too Hot" would appear on his 2002 solo Guess Who's Back.
- "Poppa Was a Playa" was one of Kanye West's first major productions.