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Did Kanye and Nas Steal a Beat and an Album Cover From This Producer? The Architect Finally Speaks

Nas’ most recent album Nasir was met with great fanfare—and some serious criticism about what it omitted—when it arrived in June as part of Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music five-week rollout.But discerning fans of underground hip-hop quickly noticed several other noteworthy things about the project. Both the album cover and the track “Adam and Eve” bore extreme similarities to earlier work by Bay Area producer The Architect. The overlaps were pointed out by fans and the media—but the producer, who was touring overseas and had coincidentally lost his phone, remained silent.To make things even more interesting, the sample that The Architect’s work has in common with Nas’ “Adam and Eve”—the opening few seconds of Iranian rocker Kourosh Yaghmaei 1974 track “Gol-e Yakh”—appeared originally on The Architect’s remix of a Nas song.Last October, the producer released The Architect x Nasty Nas (Remixes), an entire album of reimaginings of classic Nas tracks. The beat for track 9, his spin on “No Idea’s Original,” should sound familiar to Nasir listeners.For reference, here’s Nas’ Kanye West-produced “Adam and Eve,” released eight months later.The Architect is a veteran producer who got his start producing for the influential Stones Throw Records—he actually helmed the label’s first three singles. After that, he worked with Dan the Automator’s label 75 Ark, and has made beats for a long list of Bay Area and West Coast artists, including Coolio and Planet Asia.So to try to get to the bottom of how a couple of his ideas ended up on Nasir, I called The Architect, who had just returned Stateside after a tour of Europe DJing for Souls of Mischief. Below are his first extended public comments about the situation.
How did your Nas remix album come about?I just put together a remix album of my favorite verses that I like from Nas, and threw some beats behind it. It was more like a mixtape kind of thing—not a serious hard release or anything like that. I threw it on my Bandcamp for free, and people were downloading it and stuff. I did that in October of last year.
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