The late, great Guru famously rapped, “In the rap game, don’t nobody own no loops/It’s how you hook ’em up and the rhyme style, troop,” and while that is certainly true, biting is never allowed.
For Nas’ Kanye West-produced NASIR track, the album cover took the same imagery used for another project that was released just days prior and the project’s producer, The Architect, learned that a sample he used for a remix project featuring the legendary Queens rapper appeared on the G.O.O.D. Music release as well.
Architect, who hails from the Bay Area, released a project titled Trill Life Mathematiks on June 10 with Dallas rapper Nowaah The Flood, featuring the same gun-toting kids seen on the cover of NASIR. In a sitdown with Complex, Architect explained his side of the story and it doesn’t seem like he’s terribly upset about the lifting of creative energy.
A few months after that, you released a project with a very familiar-looking cover photograph. How’d you find that photograph for the cover?
Me and Nowaah the Flood, we have a mutual friend. He was like, “Yo, you guys need to work together.” So I hit him up. I started sending him music, he started immediately sending me back verses. We recorded the record in about 28 days. The last day, I was going out of town on tour, and we decided we were going to drop it that day.
Nowaah the Flood hit me up. He was like, “Yo, we got this picture.” Nowaah is from Dallas… he’s not originally from Dallas, but that’s where he has been stationed for a long time. He had a whole reason why he picked that cover. It’s taken in Dallas, so he had a whole connection to it. It wasn’t like he just said, “Oh there’s three kids on the thing. It’s tight.” It was a whole science to why he picked that cover. And I know that the other guys don’t have that science.
The picture originally was just the picture. We felt like we could have done a little more on the artwork side, so Nowaah sent it to his guy Trevor Lang and then he darkened it up and did some spices to it and sent it back. Once he spiced it up, boom, we put it up on Bandcamp. That was on [June] 10. Nas dropped his record on the 14th.
Architect was on tour overseas with then Souls Of Mischief so he was a little late to the news surrounding NASIR. However, he stopped short of calling out West and Nas for the photo lift and use of the sample.
“This is a new era of music where things like that can happen. We all have access to the internet with the picture and the record, I guess. I don’t know. I obviously don’t know Nas and I don’t know Kanye West. I don’t know if they have a team working on this stuff. I hate to go around accusing people of stuff,” Architect said.