What Nas is saying is no secret but at the same time nobody but Nas has the heart to step up and say it because Hip Hop should have had its funeral a while ago. I'm a young cat but came up on Nasir Jones when I was even younger. I remember hearing "If I ruled the world" over and over again on the radio in the summer of 96 but of course I was too young to get the album. I was just about to turn 13 when Nas dropped Stillmatic and I begged my mom for the album that featured the hot "Got urself a" and one of my favorite battle tracks of all time "Ether". I loved every track and verse on that album and set out to buy everything that was Nas and now here I am with his most controversial album Hip Hop Is Dead. To start this may be the first Nas album I was surprised about because he made some decisions with the album I don't exactly agree with.
The first being the beat selection cause we all know after It Was Written Nas hasn't picked the best beats to accompany his sick style. I didn't really care or was surprised at the Nas and Jay-z collaboration on Black Republican because of course it was expected. What I was ticked off about was that Nas had the perfect opportunity to get the production he deserves and his fans have been craving since Illmatic. If your claiming Hip Hop Is Dead then go with the original producers that gave Hip Hop its spark and made your greatest album.
He should have had Pete Rock instead of Scott Storch, bring Premier and Large Professor back to let the world know where Hip Hop really belongs. At the same time that I was mad at some of the beats I was still impressed by some especially "Still Dreaming" with Kanye. I was also surprised he didn't do more tracks with Kanye who makes perfect beats that just bring out the best of Nas if you ask me. "We Major" just teased you with that crazy beat and lyrical freshness but you didn't get too much of that here. To be honest I wish Nas would take a page out of MF DOOM's book and just do a straight album with one producer like Pete Rock, Premier, or Kanye West.
No matter what the production brings Nas never fails with his lyrics and even takes a few nails out of Hip Hops coffin with the a capella track "Hope" which is already classic. Though I harped on the poor beat selection the production wasn't bad enough to give a seriously low rating and Nas's lyrics no doubt bring the albums worth up as they do in all of his other albums. I think any person who agrees with Nas or is a supporter of Nas period needs to go buy this and listen to his views on why Hip Hop Is Dead.
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Keith A Jones (liago4)
Aug 15, 2010
Sep 9, 2013 04:22 PM UTC
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Given its provocative title, it's no surprise that parts ofHip Hop Is Deadfeel like an elegy of sorts. Nas practically came into the game looking backwards (see "Memory Lane" offIllmatic) but he seems more nostalgic than ever with tracks like "Where Are They Now?," "Carry on Tradition," "Can't Forget About You," and the title song which all focus on rap's past. This reminiscing can only fan the dim candle fans keep lit for Nas, hopeful that he'll make a full return to his former glory. But, once again, the rapper teases and falls short. As has become habit, Nas does manage to knock out a handful of excellent songs ("Can't Forget" and "Play on Playa" for example), along with a handful of awful fare (none worse than "Who Killed It," Nas's disastrous attempt to channel the spirit of '30s gangster actor Edward G. Robinson), and a few forgettable filler songs. The production is similarly uneven though Kanye West's and Will.I.Am's contributions are reliably listenable. The biggest shortcoming is that given it's titleHip Hop Is Deadaspires to be an event album but it never delivers on that promise despite the heady symbolism of former rival Jay-Z joining him on "Black Republicans." In the end, this is another good, not great album. Hip-hop isn't dead and neither is Nas but both could use a shot of life.--Oliver Wang