Album Review | Nas – Hip Hop Is Dead

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This album was released on December 19th in 2006. I haven’t really been looking forward to this album to be honest… Street’s Disciple really just… I don’t know. It was just so not good. It wasn’t even that bad. It was just not good. Nastradamus is still his wackest album, but it was followed up by Stillmatic, which is a classic album. Hip Hop Is Dead is nowhere near a classic. I know a lot of people still consider it to be a good album, but goddamn. I just hope it’s way better than Street’s Disciple. It’s not nearly as long as that album, so that’s a good sign I guess. I don’t know… That album just really knocked the wind out of my Nas fandom… Hopefully this album rejuvenates it.

Track 1: Money Over Bullshit (Prod. L.E.S. & Wyldfyer)

I know I’ve heard this song before, but I don’t really remember it. It’s starting now. This beat is dope af. Oh shit… Okay, I remember this now. That beat is awesome. I really love this beat. The piano sounds great, and the percussion is really hard hitting. The first verse was great. Okay, this is a really good start to this album. I hope the whole project is as good as this. The hook is dope. The second verse was awesome. Damn. This is a REALLY good song. Nas fuckin’ killed this shit. The third verse was great. I really don’t have any problems with this song. I guess I should’ve mentioned this in the preamble to this review, but I find the sentiment that “Hip Hop is dead” to be pretty goddamn ignorant. Maybe I’d agree if the album was called Radio Is Dead. That’d be much more accurate. Or he could’ve called it Mainstream Hip Hop Is Dead. Or he also could’ve called it The Majority Of Mainstream Hip Hop Is Really Bad. All of those titles would’ve been much more accurate. Anyway, I fucking love this song. That beat is crazy, and I loved Nas’ aggressive delivery on this shit. He killed it. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 2: You Can’t Kill Me (Prod. L.E.S. & Al West)

This beat is alright. The first verse was cool. I’m not really feelin’ this hook. The second verse was really dope… You know what? I fuck with this song. I wasn’t so sure at the beginning because the beat isn’t really that good, and the hook kinda sucks. The actual verses are really good tho. I fuck with this song. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 3: Carry On Tradition (Prod. Scott Storch)

This beat is dope. Nas is goin’ in about how Hip Hop doesn’t have enough respect for its own pioneers. “Some rap pioneers be them crackheads / When they speak, you see missin’ teeth / Silver chain with a silver piece / Niggas your grandfather’s age, they pants still hangin’ down they legs, talkin’ about they ain’t paid.” This is sadly true. Most 90s Hip Hop legends are in a much better place than most 80s Hip Hop legends. It’s pretty disheartening to see that Slick Rick only has 5,160 followers on Twitter, but that’s neither here nor there. The first verse was dope. The hook gets the job done. The second verse was dope af. He killed that shit. The third verse was great too. It seems like this song was made to uplift the older and more underground MCs who can actually rap. I’m not blown away by this track, but I still think this is a good song. This is dope af to me. 4/5

Track 4: Where Are They Now (Prod. Nas & Salaam Remi)

This beat is REALLY underwhelming. This entire song is literally Nas just name dropping a gang of 80s and early 90s rappers whose careers got cut short. He mentioned Kwamé, who had a verse on that Pro Era tape I reviewed a few weeks ago. It seems kinda weird to me that he mentioned King Tee… Well, I guess nobody’s really payin’ attention to King Tee anymore. He was on that Another Time album by DJ EFN last year, but then again Milk Dee was on that album too, so I guess that’s not really a good argument for why he isn’t washed up. This beat is really shitty. He mentioned Spice 1 too. People don’t care about Spice 1 anymore? I guess Nas was just referring to shit that isn’t popular with the younger generations. I think Slick Rick would be a more appropriate MC to mention on this song than Spice 1 tho. Slick Rick gets more recognition, but I think Spice 1’s sound is far less dated. I don’t know. It was cool of Nas to mention the Pharcyde. It’s really a shame what happened to that group. I should review Bizarre Ride soon. The way the beat transforms for the hook is actually really cool. The James Brown sample sounds really creepy to me for some reason. If it was pitch shifted it would sound really unsettling. The song just ended. Meh. It’s alright. The shit he was rapping about wasn’t very interesting, and the beat was pretty weak too. The weird hook with the James Brown sample was pretty much the only thing that I liked about this song. It’s decent tho. I definitely don’t think it’s wack. It just doesn’t have a lot of replay value for me. It’s alright. 3/5

Track 5: Hip Hop Is Dead Feat. will.i.am (Prod. will.i.am)

Hip Hop Is Dead 1

This is the only other song from this album aside from Money Over Bullshit that I’d already heard before starting this review. I’m pretty sure this is one of Nas’ most popular singles. I don’t really listen to the radio anymore, but I heard it there a lot more than any of Nas’ other singles. I really can’t decide whether or not I like it. My biggest problem with this track is the sample. Who the FUCK told him it was a good idea for this album’s lead single and title track to use the same sample from his previous album’s lead single? That’s… That’s just so fucking dumb to me… I’m also not really feelin’ will.i.am’s feature on this song. I didn’t like his vocals on the hook. The rest of the hook from Nas was great tho. “If Hip Hop should die before I wake / I’ll put an extended clip inside of my AK / Roll to every station, murder the DJ.” I love that line. I like the fast pace of this song, but the lyrics just… I mean, they’re not that bad, but… They aren’t really that good either. I like Nas’ flow. That’s pretty much all I can say about the first two verses without being negative. He doesn’t even really mention much about how Hip Hop Is Dead. Maybe he’s trying to parody wack Hip Hop music. It’s kind of ironic how weak this song is lyrically. Why did he repeat the same exact line about fucking Brazilian women three times in a row? The first two verses are really lackluster in terms of the actual lyrics. I did like the final verse where the beat switched up tho. I don’t know about this song. To be honest, I’d really rather just listen to the Thief’s Theme. The only thing I like more about this song is the faster pace of the beat; other than that, this song is worse in every way. It’s a decent song. I wouldn’t ever wanna play it again tho. 3/5

Track 6: Who Killed It? (Prod. Salaam Remi & will.i.am)

I’ve never heard this song, but I’ve heard terrible things about it. It’s starting now. This beat is really simplistic so far. It’s not– …Wha… What……………………………… What the fuck am I listening to right now? What IS this shit? What the fuck… WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHIT? YOOOO. What the fuck is this motherfucker doing?? What the… WHAT THE FUCK? Is this some kinda joke or something? This can’t be real… Why… Why the fuck did he do this? This is some fuckin’ Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven shit… I mean, that may sound kinda harsh, but… If you think Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven is good, I wouldn’t be surprised if you liked this shit too. I cannot believe what I’m hearing right now. This is easily the worst song I’ve ever heard from Nas. This is some fuckin’ Tech N9ne, Hopsin shit. This is the corniest thing Nas has ever done up to this point. This is worse than You Owe Me. This is… I just… I cannot believe he did this… You know how people used to always do that corny ass James Cagney impression, and how it was never funny? Imagine listening to James Cagney rap. That’s what this is… Why… Why would you taint your catalogue with a song like this? I’m fuckin’ done with this shit man. No. This song is absolute fucking dogshit. I just can’t believe this song exists. This shit ruined my day. This shit makes me wanna cry. 0/5

Simon

Track 7: Black Republican Feat. JAY-Z (Prod. L.E.S. & Wyldfyer)

I’m sure this song was a big deal when this album first came out for obvious reasons. I can’t say I’m super excited for it since I’m not really a fan of JAY-Z. I’m sure it’ll be good tho. It’s starting now. Eugh… I’m sorry, but Jay’s voice is just really annoying to me when he’s yelling. Oh shitfuck… This beat is dope af. Jay’s goin’ in first. He did his thing. His verse wasn’t amazing or anything, but I enjoyed it. It was cool of him to explain why he started the whole beef with Nas. The hook is fine. Nas definitely had the better verse in my opinion, but I’m biased. This song is good. I’m just not really blown away. I really like the beat, and both of the verses were good, but nothing about this track is super amazing to me. I’m not really that impressed. Maybe their verses should’ve been longer. I don’t know. I’m not super impressed, but I still enjoyed it. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 8: Not Going Back Feat. Kelis (Prod. Stargate)

Oh God… This intro… I shouldn’t be cringing this much to a Nas album. This beat is really dope. The first verse was pretty good. I don’t know about this hook… I guess the melody itself is fine, but I just can’t stand Kelis’ voice… The second verse wasn’t bad… Nah, man… I’m sorry, but I just don’t really like this song. I like the beat, and the verses from Nas were cool, but that intro was corny as fuck, and I’m not really feelin’ Kelis’ vocals… It’s a decent track tho. 3/5

Track 9: Still Dreaming Feat. Kanye West & Chrisette Michele (Prod. Kanye West)

This beat is dope af. Kanye did his thing on the first verse. I kinda wish he didn’t use the same rhyme scheme for the whole verse, but it was still really dope. It’s definitely better than anything he could do today. That verse came out between Late Registration & Graduation, so Kanye was pretty much at his peak. Well, his FIRST peak at least… The hook is really simplistic, but it’s dope. The second verse from Nas was really good. It was a diss towards Lake, who was on God’s Son. The final verse was great too. Where was Chrisette Michele? Oh shit; was that her singing in the background the whole time? I thought that was a sample… Whatever. I fuck with this song. I’m not blown away, but I enjoyed this shit. It’s dope. 4/5

Track 10: Hold Down The Block (Prod. Mark Batson)

This beat is actually really dope. It sounds like something that could’ve been on The Lost Tapes. Speaking of The Lost Tapes, did y’all see that Nas recently announced that he’d be dropping The Lost Tapes 2 soon? I can’t wait for that shit. I don’t know who this is on the hook, but he did a pretty good job. The first verse was dope. This is definitely one of my favorite songs on the album so far. This is great. The second verse was dope af. Damn. The third verse was great too. This is awesome. I love this shit. I definitely fuck with this song. I love the piano driven production, and Nas was rappin’ his ass off. I even liked the sung hook from whoever the fuck that was. You know what? I’m gonna find out who that was on the hook. Hmm… Okay, It’s some guy named Mark B. Mayfield. Never heard of him. Whatever. The song is dope af. 5/5

Track 11: Blunt Ashes (Prod. Chris Webber)

I’m not really sure what the point of this track was… It’s kinda like a more depressing version of Where Are They Now, only instead of talking about rappers whom nobody cares about anymore, Nas is rapping about pretty much every other genre of music. Also, instead of going broke, a lot of the artists just died. Pretty messed up stuff. It’s not that interesting to me personally tho. It’s a really slow paced track. The hook’s not bad. The beat’s kinda cool, but this just isn’t really that interesting lyrically. Nas’ flow is a little underwhelming too. Meh. I don’t think this is a bad song, but I wouldn’t ever have the desire to return to it. It’s decent tho. 3/5

Track 12: Let There Be Light Feat. Tre Williams (Prod. Devo Springsteen, Kanye West & Paul Cho)

This beat is dope. The first verse was cool. Goddamn. Tre Williams was singin’ his motherfuckin’ ass off on that hook. He killed that shit. The second verse was dope. Nas did his thing on the third verse too. I actually enjoyed this track. I’m not gonna lie; I didn’t think I was gonna be fuckin’ with this song when it first started. The way Tre was singin’ on the intro was a huge turnoff for me. The rest of the song turned out to be pretty good tho. I fuck with this shit. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 13: Play On Playa Feat. Snoop Dogg (Prod. Scott Storch)

This beat is dope. The first verse was fine. This is kinda corny… It just… I don’t know. It sounds like they’re trying really hard to be fancy and rich and elegant and smooth. I’m still enjoying it tho. Snoop actually sounds pretty good on the hook. The second verse was cool. Snoop’s on the last verse. Meh. It was cool I guess. I don’t really think this is that bad of a song. It’s just not something I’d ever have the desire to listen to again. It’s fine tho. 3/5

Track 14: Can’t Forget About You Feat. Chrisette Michele (Prod. will.i.am)

Can't Forget About You

This beat is cool. It was kinda hard to grasp the direction in which it was going at first, but after about 40 seconds I got it. The first verse wasn’t bad. He’s just reminiscing about his past. The hook is fine I guess. I’m not really that impressed, but it isn’t bad. It definitely lasts too long tho. The second verse was cool. Why the fuck is the hook so long? The third verse was fine. I guess this song is alright. Again, I don’t think it’s bad at all. It just has zero replay value for me personally. It’s alright tho. 3/5

Track 15: Hustlers Feat. The Game & Marsha Ambrosius (Prod. Dr. Dre)

Well, I certainly wasn’t expecting to see Dr. Dre on this album. This beat is dope. Nas is goin’ in right away. His verse was fine. Again, I’m not really that impressed. It wasn’t bad tho. I’m not really feelin’ this hook from Marsha Ambrosius to be honest. Also, the more I listen to this song the less I like the beat. It’s really sub-par by Dr. Dre’s usual standards. The Game’s verse was pretty dope. This “Compton-Compton OG” bridge that they keep repeating kinda sucks to be honest… Jesus. This beat is honestly really bad… I mean, I kinda liked it at first, but after a minute this shit gets annoying as FUCK. The final verse from Nas was cool, but… Nah. This song isn’t really doin’ it for me. I really don’t like the beat, and I’m not really feelin’ this hook from Marsha Ambrosius either. The verses were fine, but nah. I’m not gonna be coming back to this. 3/5

Track 16: Hope Feat. Chrisette Michele (Prod. Nas, L.E.S. & Spanador)

Oh God… I’m not feelin’ these dramatic vocals from Chrisette Michele on the intro. Nas is goin’ in a cappella right now. Damn. I just listened to the whole track. The whole thing is a cappella… Why does it have three producers if there’s no beat? The verse Nas spit was really fuckin’ dope, but… I’m not gonna be listening to this shit again. I definitely would’ve enjoyed this more if Chrisette Michele wasn’t featured, but even then it’s not like I could enjoy this like an average song. Honestly, I would’ve loved this if it was just the verse he spit over a super simplistic drum pattern with nothing else. That would’ve been really cool. I’m not gonna play this shit again tho. 3/5

Final Thoughts:

Nah… I didn’t like this album. To be honest, I liked this shit even less than Street’s Disciple. It’s still not a bad album… It’s just REALLY not good… Hmm… Maybe I’m not as much of a Nas fan as I thought I was before I started this marathon… I think there are a lot of good songs on here, but there are also a lot of really underwhelming tracks here. The production was pretty weak on a lot of these tracks. Nas wasn’t ripping every verse apart like he was on God’s Son. On the last track he came to the conclusion that Hip Hop will never die, and to be honest… It kinda just feels like a huge waste of time. Is there really anyone out there who thought that Hip Hop could actually die completely? That’s… That’s just REALLY fucking stupid. Nas was saying “Hip Hop is dead” throughout this entire album, and at the end he just said “actually, no it isn’t.” It just… I don’t know. Well, I said it a few sentences ago. It feels like a waste of time. A lot of these tracks just feel… It’s like Stillmatic was Nas’ 2000s version of Illmatic, God’s Son was It Was Written, Street’s Disciple was I Am… and now Hip Hop Is Dead is Nastradamus. I mean, this album is nowhere near as bad as Nastradamus, but still. I don’t know what happened. It’s just not good. These songs… They aren’t good. It’s not a bad album. I just don’t think it’s very good. It’s decent tho. I got a handful of dope songs outta this album. I just think Nas could’ve done better.

Favorite Song: Money Over Bullshit

Least Favorite Song: Who Killed It?

Verdict:

67%

60-69

Tell me if I’m trippin’ in the comments below

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3 comments

  1. I liked this project, the thing is albums like these require multiple listens you can’t just immediately run in blind, let it marinate and soak in the sounds. Personally I dig it mostly because it’s not boring as Illmatic and all that other old shit, there’s energy in these newer Nas albums and that’s what I fuck with the most. It’s abrasive, it’s a fuck you to MTV, BET, VH1, and all that Clear Channel/Viacom bullshit. It’s the honest to god truth Hip Hop has become corny since 2006 when these weirdo dudes from the South started acting like a goddamn minstrel show.

    PS-I wholeheartedly recommend you peep King Tee’s discography, that’s that underground Compton shit along with Compton’s Most Wanted/MC Eiht.

    PPS-Concerning the good Doctor Andre Young I’m honestly surprised you missed The Firm (the group of Nas, AZ and Foxy Brown) album which dropped on Aftermath as well as the 1996 “Dr. Dre Presents…The Aftermath” compilation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah I skipped both of those projects mainly because I heard they were wack. I’m only doing Nas’ solo albums anyway, so I’m not gonna be doing Distant Relatives either. Dre pretty much disowned that Aftermath album, so I didn’t really feel the need to cover it. I might check it out someday tho.

      Like

      • I dig it. The Firm album is actually a bearable listen, the Aftermath compilation I recommend checking out the cuts where RBX is featured (as he steals the show) the rest of it is just hit and miss.

        Liked by 1 person

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