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Nas - Hip Hop Is Dead Album Cover

Nas - Hip Hop Is Dead

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This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
NAS - Hip Hop Is Dead

Nasir Jones has always known how to cause a stir. From proclaiming himself as “God’s son” to actually releasing a music video depicting Black Friday starring himself as Jesus, Jones now proclaimed to the masses that “hip hop is dead.” Nas explains that the title can be interpreted in many ways, with the major one being money is the only thing rappers care about, selling out the true meaning of the genre. And with that, Nas released his eight full length album in mid-December. After making even more headlines by burying the hatchet with former rival Jay-Z and signing with Def Jam Records, Hip Hop Is Dead was then pushed back a couple of times, but it has finally seen the light of day. But would it resurrect hip-hop?

The album begins with “Money Over Bullshit,” an emphatic battle cry that sets the tone of the album. Nas has never been the rapper to release the pop or club banger hit, rather he is known more for his lyrical content, and this is very apparent on the album opener and throughout the album. “You Can’t Kill Me” has an eerie aroma as the beat darts in and out. The first single, the title track, features the same sample from one of his older singles, “Thief’s Theme.” The sample is used more effectively here, as this track scorches with killer verses and an insanely catchy chorus featuring a twist on a common bedtime prayer. “Who Killed It?” is a track that is going to be loved by many fans and hated by many fans. Personally, the beat is what saves the track, as producer Will.I.Am absolutely kills it. Nas takes on the personality of character actor Edward G. Robinson, a concept that is admirable, but in the end is an idea that falls flat on its face. Thankfully, one of the most epic hip-hop tracks in recent memory follows this. Anyone who has followed hip-hop knows of the intense beef between Nas and Jay-Z, and after many years, they have finally made a truce and in turn, recorded one of the best hip-hop songs I’ve heard. “Black Republican” is a dream come true; Jay and Nas flow seamlessly between each of their verses, and the Godfather II inspired beat is the cherry on top. Easily the best song on the entire album, this is a track that’ll be remembered by hip-hop fans for a long time.

The other highlight on the album is the continued chemistry between Kanye West and Nas. Building off the momentum of “We Major,” from West’s last album, the two West-produced tracks, “Still Dreaming” (which features a few verses from West) and “Let There Be Light,” bring in the melody of the album. “Let There Be Light” is an inspiring song and the drum kick and subtle bass line are beautiful. A perfect beat for Nas to weave his street tales with; it’s full of soul and passion. “Hustlers” is in your face, with Nas and his clone, The Game, spitting back rhymes that attack. The album ends with the a cappella “Hope.” It’s poetry in motion, nicely capping off what seems to be Nas’ most honest album since Stillmatic.

Hip-hop is very much alive, at least according to the first week sales of Hip Hop Is Dead, selling over 352 thousand albums and debuting at number 1. But that’s besides the point. Nas is full of fire and angst as he aims for the kill on Dead. It’s not his most perfect album -- let’s face it, he’ll never top Illmatic – but it’s honest, it’s blunt, and it’s a good summary of what Nas has gone through the past few years. So, don’t make those funeral plans yet, as Nas has shown his brand of hip-hop isn’t ready to die out.
Additional InformationTrack Listing:
1. Money Over Bullshit
2. You Can’t Kill Me
3. Carry On Tradition
4. Where Are They Now?
5. Hip Hop Is Dead feat. Will.I.Am
6. Who Killed It?
7. Black Republican feat. Jay-Z
8. Not Going Back feat. Kelis
9. Still Dreaming feat. Kanye West and Chrisette Michele
10. Hold Down The Block
11. Blunt Ashes
12. Let There Be Light feat. Tre Williams
13. Play On Playa feat. Snoop Dogg
14. Can’t Forget About You feat. Chrisette Michele
15. Hustlers feat. The Game and Marsha Ambrosius
16. Hope
Executive Producer: Nasir Jones

Release Date: December 19, 2006
Record Label: Def Jam Recordings
Official Website; Official Myspace
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 40
05:53 AM on 01/03/07
#2
mikeford
firefrancona.blogspot.com
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#2 of the year behind clipse
05:55 AM on 01/03/07
#3
mikeford
firefrancona.blogspot.com
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oh ps, its worth noting that money over bullshit is a jim jones diss
12:46 PM on 01/03/07
#4
thevandaley
Lou Bega 4 Prez
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eat me.
01:04 PM on 01/03/07
#5
seconds
fuckin' shit up
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Yeah, I haven't heard this, but I've been meaning to get around to it.
01:29 PM on 01/03/07
#6
dubey
trillest
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Conscientious rap is the new punk rock
02:05 PM on 01/03/07
#7
classicjazz123
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i think this album blows jay Z's new one out of the water. I think its a little bit better than clipses cd just because its nas of course.
02:12 PM on 01/03/07
#8
lassise
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how does a rap cd get a 83% and all time low get like a 20%. not that i am totally against rap, i just dont see how the bias works in its favor on a website called absolutepunk
02:31 PM on 01/03/07
#9
lifeishell
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While this will always be argued hip-hop is not a genre, rap is. One of the points Nas is trying to get across with this is that the only thriving element of hip-hop is rap. All the other elements of hip-hop is dead or in the presence of facing death. DJing. Breakdancing. Tagging.

I do not agree with the fella but to say the least the worst that's come from this is good. There is determination from artists to prove that they're hip-hop. A lot of artists have spoken out and are on their toes. Nonetheless, I do believe that rap as a part of hip-hop consists of all the music out there. From 50 cent to Immortal Technique. From the East to the South. It's all part of hip-hop. Each just tends to showcase another perspective of it.

I think you need to review who killed it. Track is a classic for the lyrical ability he touched on it. Dude summarizes the history of raps part in hip-hop.

At the end of the day it's whatever. Some say it's a marketing scandal other say he's honest.

Good music is good music despite the atmosphere we create getting lost in discussion.
02:35 PM on 01/03/07
Iamhome
for now.
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how does a rap cd get a 83% and all time low get like a 20%. not that i am totally against rap, i just dont see how the bias works in its favor on a website called absolutepunk

It might have something to do with only mainstream rap being reviewed on here but underground and mainstream rock being reviewed.

Obviously mainstream artists have the ability to get a greater review on an album due to all that is put into it.
02:41 PM on 01/03/07
lifeishell
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how does a rap cd get a 83% and all time low get like a 20%. not that i am totally against rap, i just dont see how the bias works in its favor on a website called absolutepunk

Your logic evades me.

A bad CD is a bad CD. Doesn't matter what genre it's labeled as.

Besides a reviewer is only human so their personal perspectives have an influence on the review.

You don't have to agree with the website. I say this as if you were looking for acceptance or some form of connection due to the fact you're complaining about how something was reviewed.

Take what you like and run with it. That's all that really matters.
04:00 PM on 01/03/07
mikeford
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While this will always be argued hip-hop is not a genre, rap is. One of the points Nas is trying to get across with this is that the only thriving element of hip-hop is rap. All the other elements of hip-hop is dead or in the presence of facing death. DJing. Breakdancing. Tagging.

i really dont think that was his point.
04:40 PM on 01/03/07
wiReZ
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I gotta listen to this when I go home...
04:53 PM on 01/03/07
shane hennessey
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how does a rap cd get a 83% and all time low get like a 20%. not that i am totally against rap, i just dont see how the bias works in its favor on a website called absolutepunk
lol
04:58 PM on 01/03/07
Carlo Marx
YOUR HEAD A-SPLODE
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how does a rap cd get a 83% and all time low get like a 20%. not that i am totally against rap, i just dont see how the bias works in its favor on a website called absolutepunk

It probably has something to do with Nas' new album being great, while the All Time Low album is terrible. Just a thought.

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