Nas Remakes Slick Rick’s Classic ‘Hey Young World’ For New Levi’s Campaign

By Allen Starbury  |  05/25/2010

NasThe iconic demin jeans brand, Levi's, announced this week, the launch of a "Levi's Pioneer Sessions: The Revival Recordings", a mash-up between the jeans brand and great music. The company calls Pioneer Sessions "a new and innovative campaign that champions musical artists who embody the pioneering spirit of the Levi's brand."

An original series of musical recordings by a diverse roster of talented musicians, the campaign features remakes of hits from past decades inspired by renowned artists. The first two songs in the series will be released this week -- one being Nas, covering "Hey Young World" by vet Slick Rick; and folk rock duo, The Swell Season's rendition of the 70s disco hit, "Young Hearts Run Free" by Candi Staton.

(Download Nas' cover of "Hey Young World" right here )

"Slick Rick is my personal favorite MC," said Nas of the original track. "This record opened my eyes to how big hip-hop could become and Levi's' 'Pioneer Sessions' gave me the freedom to re-connect with the record in a new way."

"When I was a kid, my mother used to play this record all the time so I was excited about the opportunity to recraft it as part of Levi's Pioneer Sessions," said Swell Season's Glen Hansard on the group's remake of Young Hearts Run Free. "She taught us all the lyrics to this song. It feels great, and it reminds me of my mother."

Both songs will be available for free download, May 24th and May 27th respectively, at

Beginning Monday (May 24) through the first of July, The "Levi's® Pioneer Sessions: The Revival Recordings" series features the release of two singles each week by a slew of acts.

Below is a list of the upcoming covers:

  • Nas - "Hey Young World" by Slick Rick
  • The Swell Season - "Young Hearts Run Free" by Candi Staton
  • She & Him - "Fools Rush In" by Rick Nelson
  • Dirty Projectors - "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine" by Bob Dylan
  • Colbie Caillat - "Maria" by Blondie
  • The Shins - "Goodbye Girl" by Squeeze
  • Raphael Saadiq - "It's A Shame" by The Spinners
  • Bomba Estereo - "Pump Up the Jam" by Technotronic
  • Jason Mraz - "Spirit in the Sky" by Norman Greenbaum
  • John Legend and the Roots - "Our Generation" by Ernie Hines

Details regarding the remaining artists who are going to complete the current roster of releases will be announced in the weeks to come.

In addition to the new original remakes, Levi's will also release exclusive photos, interviews with the artists, and behind-the-scenes footage from their studio recording session, all available for download at