Dion “No I.D.” Wilson is all good these days. While readying the release of Nas’ anticipated Life Is Good set, the acclaimed producer offered some insight into the album and the process by which it was created.
“Nas is keeping the art of rhyming alive,” No I.D. told CBS Local. After crafting Life is Good tracks such as the verbal throwback assault “Loco-Motive” and the heartfelt single “Daughters,” No I.D. knows better than most.
“He can make a very personal song about what it’s like raising his daughter and the mistakes that he has made,” No I.D. continued. “And then he can be Nas—the super lyrical MC. That’s how you get the Kendrick Lamars and the J. Coles of the world. Nas is making records for those younger rappers to say, ‘You know what? I’m going to take rapping to another level.’”
Since the early ‘90s, No I.D. has turned out studio sessions with headliners such as Common, Janet Jackson, Kanye West, as well as new breed rappers Drake and Big Sean. Now as vice president of A&R at Def Jam, No I.D. says that collaborating with Nas presented a flip side of his experience working with another celebrated hip-hop figure.
“I have had the honor of producing records for both Nas and Jay-Z,” he said. (No I.D. has handled production for Jigga on such records as ‘D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)’ and Jigga’s ’Success,’ which featured Nas).
“The differences are Jay really just gets into the studio and says his raps. I don’t think Jay spends a lot of time with songs. But Nas spends a lot of time with songs. Nas will really write out his raps and go through a lot of different verses. He puts weeks and months of time to the point to where sometimes he’s not even paying attention to the beat [laughs]. He really cares about every single word and how it represents his neighborhood and how it represents hip-hop. But Jay just kind of knows what he wants to say. Once he figures it out, he says his rhyme and he’s like, ‘Alright, I’m good…let’s go.’”
Check out No I.D.’s production on Nas’ Life Is Good is due in stores July 17th. –Keith Murphy, CBS Local