Nas – Hip Hop is Dead (2006)

I’m no expert of rap music, just a fan and observer of what might be the most important cultural movement of the last two decades. Nas being a big part of the development of rap with his debut album, Illmatic. Since then he’s released six albums, and ended up in a feud with Jay-Z who dissed him for having only one good album. Well that has all turned around for Nas. For Hip Hop is Dead, he has signed with Jay-Z’s label, DefJam, and written the funeral music to an era of hip hop as we know it. Making sure to end the album with a resurrection chant to ‘live hip hop live…I pray hip hop stays” (Hope).

Nas has always had is pulse on life in gritty urban life in America. Like in Hold Down the Block: “I gotta lay down the block, when the block is hot/I gotta use my imagination, to change the situation/Yea, Feds feast on street dons, look at their teeth showin’/Salivatin’ at the mouth, South to East Orange.” And commenting on the political in Black Republican, where he compares the current administration with dealing drugs and looking out for their “hood.”

Featuring great beats and melodies, this is a good listen. It also features collaborations with some of the biggest names in the game, including: Jay-Z, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Will.i.am, The Game, and Nas’s wife Kelis.

–gpv

Listen.

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