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Hip Hop Is Dead
Nas
Hip Hop Is Dead
Genres: Rap & Hip-Hop, R&B
 
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #1

Throughout his storied career, which began with 1994's classic Illmatic and has spanned the last decade with over 12 million albums sold, Nas has been more than just the genre's foremost lyricist and thinker. He has become...  more »

      
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CD Details

All Artists: Nas
Title: Hip Hop Is Dead
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Universal/Mercury
Release Date: 12/25/2006
Album Type: Import
Genres: Rap & Hip-Hop, R&B
Styles: East Coast, Gangsta & Hardcore
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 0602498464731, 602517184206

Synopsis

Amazon.com
Throughout his storied career, which began with 1994's classic Illmatic and has spanned the last decade with over 12 million albums sold, Nas has been more than just the genre's foremost lyricist and thinker. He has become a statesman, some would argue hip-hop's "conscience." Now, with the release of his long-awaited Def Jam debut--the aptly-titled Hip-Hop Is Dead--Nas returns to his role as mentor and teacher, his legendary mic skills as sharp as ever, and takes today's young rappers back to school. The lesson? Hip-Hop--as Nas sees it--is very much alive.

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CD Reviews

Nas says it best "Hip-Hop Is Dead"
LT Twalo | Johannesburg, South Africa | 01/26/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It is with Nas as it is with most of our favourite rappers (Common, Talib Kweli, Snoop Dogg etc.), every time they release an album everyone has their fingers crossed that the beats will be on point. Unlike some of our other favourite entertainers (Jay-Z, The Game etc.) who seem to be magnets for hot beats, Nas seems to repel them at times. However, with production credits including Dr. Dre, Kanye West, Will I.Am (man of the moment) & Scott Storch Nas (or Def Jam) weren't taking any chances this time around. Moreover as if the idea that they would be competing for album space with such heavy weights lit some fire up they as*@$, Salaam Remi and L.E.S. really step their game up. In fact its L.E.S. who ends up with the best beat on the album on "Black Republicans"

Another thing that has had fans losing their breathe from anxiety attacks is the first single(s) which are never a good indication of what to expect from the album, "Thief's Theme" was grimy but Street's Disciple was more mellow and moody. "If I Ruled The World" and "I Owe You" had a more pop appeal but the respective albums had a street edge to them. On occasion he's been able to release a single that embodies the feel of the whole album e.g. "I Made You Look", "Nas Is Like", "Hate Me Now" and "Hip-Hop Is Dead." Although not the best track on the album but if you like it, you'll like the rest of the album.

Loyalty to his crew has also tended to drag Nas down in the past as he tended to give too much shine to his QB brethren who are, to put it mildly, less talented than he is. This time around he surrounds himself with the cream of the hip-hop crop i.e. The Game, Jay-Z & Snoop Dogg who all had hot selling albums out around the same time as his release , Not to mention Kanye West & Will I.Am who are always news worthy. For the most part they all add to, rather than take away from the overall album. More especially Jay-Z and The Game. Jay-Z plays the audience like a piano by teasing us with what seems like endless chatter before finally breaking into verse. All the while building up the hype to what is (for us hip-hop lovers) history in the making. The Game on the other hand jumps on the Nostalgic theme of the album by tastefully reworking an old verse for the first few bars before slaughtering the Dre beat on "Hustlers"

OK, let's recap... so we can relax about the beats cause Nas has enlisted some of the more consistent beatsmiths of the this century (Chris Webber excluded). The single although not a chart burner makes the point clear, "Hip-Hop Is Dead." The guests are all A-list material and most importantly they show up. So what about the man?

Nas always brings it lyrically and what makes this outing special is that he's got something to say. He's got a lot to explain after declaring that Hip-Hop was dead. The album starts off with tales of a street soldier getting ready for war, plotting who's getting it and how they gon' get it.
Each one of you guys that claim Hip-Hop is still alive
Like y'all ain't in agreement wit Nas...
On the next track Nas is a NY kingpin that is betrayed by one of his soldiers whose jealous of his name. Whether these two tracks have anything to do with the album title is up to debate. Maybe Nas is plotting the death of hip-hop in the first track and HE is a betrayed hip-hop getting ready for the attack, perhaps on the 1st track he's simply going to war with his detractors, either way both tracks demo Nas' superior story telling skills and his keen sense of observation.

From the 3rd track however, the stories (and metaphors) are put aside and Nas truly begins testimony.
Hip-Hop been dead, we the reason it died
Wasn't Sylvia's fault or because MC's skills are lost
It's because we can't see ourselves as the boss
Deep-rooted through slavery, self-hatred
The Jewish stick together, friends in high places
We on some low level s@#t
We don't want ni%$%z to ever win
See, everybody got a label
Everybody's a rapper but few flow fatal...

Young Jeezy must have heard the second verse to get pissed at Nas' cause it's aimed at the new cats
Wit their fingers intertwined in some gang-sign madness
I got an exam, let's see if y'all pass it
Let's see who can quote a Daddy Kane line the fastest
...
Do anythin' to get in the game, mixtapes, you spit hate
Against bosses; hungry f**ks are moraless
You should be tossed in a pit full of unfortunate vocalists
ni%$%z, I coulda wrote your s@#t...
Then on the next track Nas honours his predecessors as if to say what's wrong with rap today is the fact that we all forgot where it came from. As he runs through the names I realise that he has a point as some of the names I had not only forgotten but had dismissed as not even being Hip-Hop (shame on me).

By the time Jay-Z joins Nas on the over the top collabo "Black Republican" Nas has made his point and it is left to you to make up your mind. The middle of the album Nas addresses everything from his own relationship with the hood ("Not Going Back", "Hold Down The Block") to free loaders ("Still Dreamin') to writer's block ("Play On Playa") & "fallen" heroes ("Blunt Ashes"). To end off Nas returns to his favourite topic, the music to round out a satisfying musical ride that has something for all hip-hop lovers to groove to.

Music, and rap music in particular has been the canvas, brushes and paint used by artists (youth mainly) to relay their thoughts, state of mind etc. But at some point the brush, paint & canvas became more important than the picture they are used to draw. Nas addresses this phenomenon with his album and shows his disgust but in the end vows to continue painting.

People will dissect this album comparing it to everything else that's out and everything he's done but in the end, Nas had something to say and he said with this album. If more artist would take more time to think about what it is they wanna say before rushing to the booth, then all debates about Hip-Hop would come to an end"
STRAIGHT DOPE
W. LEE | poconos | 12/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I am speechless. Absolutely phenomenal. The new crop of KRAPPERS (Korny Rappers) need to sit down and take a lesson from a REAL MC. Today's HIP HOP is not only DEAD, but trash, garbage, and smelly like dirty underthings. Today's Hip Hop is an insult and an affront to every Hip Hopper dead or alive. It is a disgraceful perversion of hip hop culture. being a Ny Born Hip Hop head who was there for the days of THE ROXY and THE FUN HOUSE and the LQ, today's HIP HOP is something I don't listen to, buy, or understand. It is a sick deluded view of street life. This album, on the other hand, reflects the true soul of HIP HOP. In fact, PUBLIC ENEMY'S new album REBIRTH is just as good, but because BLACK RADIO plays who they are paid to play, P.E.'s new album while brilliant as NAS' WORK has been ignored. Hopefully the day will come when the OLD SCHOOL returns to claim their position. Hoepfully, with the shock waves from NAS' work and the NEW P.E. joint, the days of mummbly mouthed, violent, jerky, dope laced, women bashing, money aggrandizing, anti-humanistic "Hip Slop" and "Krappers" will disappear from the face of the earth. I am sick of gold, weed, blunts, death and naked women. FIGHT THE POWER!"
Another incredible addition to Nas's catalog
ctrx | 'bout to show you how the EAST COAST rocks... | 12/30/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Nasir Jones once again makes his case for best rapper alive on his ninth LP and first for Def Jam Records, "Hip Hop Is Dead." This is an album unlike any he has ever done before, an extremely focused yet diverse record that covers a lot of topics and shines in many areas. This could be referred to as a concept album, because most of the disc has Nas commenting on the current state of hip hop and looking back to the past while striving to move forward as well. The album art depicts a somber funeral. Lyrically, Nas is just himself, showing his amazing vocabulary, metaphors, wordplay, emotion, and intelligence constantly. A few songs, such as "Where Are They Now" and "Who Killed It" are genius concept songs the likes of "Rewind," and others show a Nas that we haven't seen in recent years, one who makes effective, accessible rap songs like "Play on Playa" and "Hustlers." Musically, "Hip Hop Is Dead" is also very impressive. Nas enlists his tried and true producers L.E.S. and Salaam Remi for a few tracks but also gets beats from Scott Storch, Kanye West, Will.i.am, and Dr. Dre, creating an all-star cast of producers. "Hip Hop Is Dead" is a very interesting and enjoyable album, one that will not be remembered among Nas's definitive albums but certainly a highlight to a long career of consistently excellent rap records. I highly recommend "Hip Hop Is Dead" and consider it one of the top rap albums of 2006.

The album begins with the hard-hitting "Money Over Bulls...," a gritty sounding track where Nas angrily drops some raw philosophy, a promising start. "You Can't Kill Me" tells a story as only Nas can. I really like "Carry On Tradition," a Scott Storch-produced anthem where he pledges to stay true to the founders of hip hop. The next track is one that I enjoyed a ton. Nas accurately notes that "hip hop is a ghost town" and name-drops countless forgotten rappers from the 80s and 90s. A lot of these references are probably lost on many listeners, but it sounded like he was rattling off my entire rap collection, shouting out guys like King Tee, K-Solo, Group Home, and Tim Dog. This song was really fun for me, and the beat samples the recently departed James Brown (RIP). At first I was confused by "Hip Hop Is Dead" because it uses the same sample and a lot of the musical elements from "Thief's Theme" only two years ago. Supposedly will.i.am never knew Nas used the "Inna-Godda-Da-Vida" sample (earth to somebody!) but this production is nice nonetheless. Nas tells metaphorical stories and comments on where hip hop is today and where he wants it to be. This is a great single that represents the album well. "Who Killed It?" is a great concept track. Using different voices, he tells a sort of mobster movie story and traces back the roots of hip hop to slave chants and looks ahead. This is one of those songs that I know I will be continuing to decipher years from now, and that is something I have always loved about Nas. The epic collaboration with Jay-Z, "Black Republican," is a song rap fans have been eagerly anticipating, myself included, and it doesn't disappoint. Over a majestic horn fanfare, the two legends rap with an inspired sound. "Not Going Back" chronicles Nas's life in a way, and his wife Kelis sings the hook. The nostalgic Kanye West production "Still Dreaming" is a definite highlight, using a great sample and it's lyrically gripping. "Hold Down the Block" is vintage Nas material, excellent all around. Philadelphia 76ers power forward Chris Webber produced "Blunt Ashes," an emotional look at music and life. Anthony Hamilton sound-alike Tre Williams steals the show on the musically beautiful "Let There Be Light," and the two make a very inspired and deep song. Snoop Dogg collaboration "Play on Playa" and The Game collaboration "Hustlers" are two mainstream friendly songs that are nonetheless lyrically impressive, showing great chemistry and verses from all involved. I like "Can't Forget About You," and the album ends with a very interesting spoken word "Hope" which answered a lot of questions.

"Hip Hop Is Dead" is a very impressive and entertaining album that provides a lot of different kinds of tracks and showcases Nas's talent and genius to his full potential. He has a lot to say and goes about it in a very admirable manner. Musically and lyrically, this album is consistently wonderful and I suggest all hip hop fans give it a listen. It's also one that I'm sure I will be listening to years from now and finding new lines and concepts that I never fully comprehended before, just as I have on all of his albums. It's just entire works like this that are the reason Nasir has been my favorite rapper for so many years. "Hip Hop Is Dead" does justice to all of Nas's past work and is a great listen in itself."