Nas album about 'peace and love'

New material also comes from pending divorce

DETROIT -- Though he's in the midst of finishing his "Distant Relatives" collaboration with Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley, rap superstar Nas is looking towards making a follow-up to his 2008 album "Untitled." "After this (Marley) project is done," he tells, "I'll start my record."

The album's direction is still germinating, Nas says. "Untitled," of course, came out amidst great controversy over the racial epithet he originally wanted to use for the title. The new material will also come in the wake of divorce proceedings filed by his wife, Kelis.

"It's funny; drama is something that definitely kicks a fire underneath artists," Nas says. "But I try not to make that my focus. I'm trying to have peace and love.

"My shit right now is age-appropriate for myself. I love everything, most of the things that are going on musically. But my music will talk about what I see, how I see it, and it should be interesting. My last things were about what I felt about hip-hop and what I felt about race matters. This new thing will be a natural thing. I have a few things that I feel like doing, but who knows what it will be."

Nas is currently touring with Marley as part of this year's Rock The Bells package and will to finish "Distant Relatives" after the tour. They also plan to tour extensively following its release, and Nas is feeling both that album and his next release will be part of a hip-hop scene he finds more potent than it's been in recent years.

"I think it is headed in a good direction," he says. "Everybody is trying to beat the life back into it. People are forced to beat the life back into it because it's either that or, if hip-hop dies completely, then it's our fault. So no one wants that on their shoulders. No one wants that on their brain. We have a responsibility to keep this shit crunchy. That means a lot to fans and people, and we should care more about the music."