Nas - Hip Hop Is Dead Album Review
Posted on February 23, 2007 by Jamie Slaughter
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Nasty Nas is back with his Def Jam debut, "Hip Hop is dead." The last LP released by Nas was "Street's Disciple" back in 2004. But when Nas claims hip-hop is dead, he's talking about people commercializing the game and rap becoming a marketing commodity. Rap has evolved since the 80's and 90's and Nas feels that it has not been for the better.
Familar names in the game included Notorious B.I.G., 2pac, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Busy Bee, Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash. Hip Hop now includes the likes of 50 cent, T.I., Jay-z, and The Game.
There are however a few rappers who have spanned across multiple decaded and can still deliver and retain the history of hip hop, such as Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Too Short, and of course Nas. Nas still has the material, can unfold a great story and raps the real truth. However, stating that Hip Hop is dead is a bold move and one which will spark controversy throughout the backbone of the hip hop world. Hip Hop is not dead, but certainly has evolved, but with all great things, they have to adapt and cater for the current audience.
The LP itself contradicts the album title. The tracks on this album are very much alive and amount to another classic Nas release. The guest appearances come from Will.i.am, Jay-Z, Kelis, Kanye West, Chrisette Michele, Tre Williams, Snoop Dogg, The Game and Marsha Ambrosius. The producers being L.E.S., Scott Storch, Salaam Remi, Will.i.am, Stargate, Kanye West, Mark Batson, Chris Webber, and Dr. Dre.
The first three songs pave the way for the core of the album each being a solid track. On "Where Are They Now?" Nas finds himself rapping about the rappers that blessed the mic but have since failed to release anything further. But not all rappers named make sense since some of them are still in fact involved in the game. Hip-Hop Is Dead, the single off the CD, has an old school beat with lyrics that state, in Nas' opinion, why the game is dead. "Who killed it" is a classic. Nas raps as a 1930's detective. With this perspective it is evident that Nas is a master of story telling and this track supports that argument.
You really have to listen to the song and lyrics. It unfolds so many further avenues and eplores so many different situations.
"Black Republican" is a standout track due to the fact it's a Nas and Jay-z collaboration, which is something we never thought would be embraced. "Not Going Back" features his wife, Kelis. "Still Dreaming" is a great song with Kanye West and the talented, young singer Chrisette Michelle.
"Hold Down The Block" and "Blunt Ashes" are the weaker songs, in terms of both production and lyrics. "Play on Playa" features Snoop Dogg in yet another solid collaboration but the best track on the album is "Can't Forget About You". Again, it features Chrisette Michele with a Nat King Cole accompanying sample which has to be heard to trully appreciate the different dimensions involved.
"Hope" has a Nas freestyle attached to it, which certainly does not disappoint.
Hip-Hop is Dead is definitely a shoe-in for consideration for best rap CD of the year. Nas really tries to prove his point and he gives it his all and for that, it makes one great CD. This is a must buy for any hip hop fan.
Is Hip Hop Dead? On this evidence, far from it.
1. Money over Bullshit
2. You can't kill me
3. Carry on Tradition
4. Where are they now
5. Hip Hop is dead
6. Who killed it?
7. Black republican
8. Not going back
9. Still Dreaming
10. Hold down the block
11. Blunt ashes
12. Let there be light
13. Play on playa
14. Can't forget about you