Nas | The Leak | Album Preview

<b>Hip-Hop Is Dead... Long Live Nas</b>

Hip-Hop Is Dead... Long Live Nas

It's hard to think of an album that's come with more pre-release buildup than Nas' new LP, the controversially titled Hip-Hop Is Dead ... The N. The story of this album...

Hip-Hop Is Dead... Long Live Nas

  1. 01Money Over Bull...(4:16)
  2. 02You Can't Kill Me(3:14)
  3. 03Carry On Tradition(3:49)
  4. 04Where Are They Now(2:44)
  5. 05Hip Hop Is Dead(3:45)
  6. 06Who Killed It?(3:09)
  7. 07Black Republican(3:45)
  8. 08Not Going Back(4:09)
  9. 09Still Dreaming(3:37)
  10. 10Hold Down The Block(3:57)
  11. 11Blunt Ashes(4:03)
  12. 12Let There Be Light(4:28)
  13. 13Play On Playa(3:33)
  14. 14Can't Forget About You(4:34)
  15. 15Hustlers(4:06)
  16. 16Hope(3:05)

Full Description

It's hard to think of an album that's come with more pre-release buildup than Nas' new LP, the controversially titled Hip-Hop Is Dead ... The N. The story of this album essentially began in October of 2005, when Nas shocked the hip-hop world by appearing onstage alongside longtime rival Jay-Z. Over the years, their rivalry played itself out in chatter and over several songs — most notably Jay's "Takeover" and Nas' response, "Ether" — but also entered the romantic realm (the two dated the same woman, the mother of Nas' child) and even stretched back to the mid-'90s: With the passing of Notorious B.I.G. in 1997, fans have long been split over which MC is the best in New York. Yet there they stood on the stage of Madison Square Garden, beginning an alliance as far-reaching as their beef had been: Not long after, the two announced that Nas had signed with Def Jam Records (which of course is run by Jay), and the pair appeared in an exclusive MTV interview in February discussing their alliance. Letting the past be the past is as much a statement for hip-hop as it is for themselves. "That would be small-minded [to dwell on past slights]," Nas said. "That's what I want people to understand. Me coming over to Def Jam, I'm bringing something to the table. I'm equivalent to any of the artists that are there. I'm ready to go — I'm ready to kick ass." "We're thinking as responsible, grown men," Jay added. "We've been chosen as leaders. We have to lead. I didn't sign Nas, I partnered with Nas. You can't sign an artist of Nas' stature, you can only partner with him." Of course, there is also the matter of the album's title, which has been spreading controversy ever since it was announced. "I don't wanna lose nobody with this, but what I mean by 'hip-hop is dead' is we're at a vulnerable state," Nas explained. "If we don't change, we gonna disappear like Rome. I think hip-hop could help rebuild America, once hip-hoppers own hip-hop. ... We are our own politicians, our own government, we have something to say. We're warriors. Soldiers." He's put his money where his mouth is: Nas' album is very much street, and he still commands the vocal booth. His choice of collaborators is virtually unparalleled: Dr. Dre, Just Blaze, Kanye West, the Game, Snoop, Scott Storch, Damien "Jr. Gong" Marley and many others all brought their A-games to the record. Game even pays tribute to Dre and Nas on "QB Tru G," rapping that over a decade ago, he was a kid in a record store trying to decide whether to buy Nas' Illmatic or Dre's The Chronic because he only had money for one purchase. (He decided to steal both albums.) Even Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas and Nas' friend NBA forward Chris Webber got in on the action. "We was chillin', and one of my mans told Chris to put on one of his [beat] CDs," Nas recalled. "I started freestylin' to one joint about sh-- we just be talking about, and I was like, 'This is my joint right here.' " It comes as no surprise that the album — which finds Nas saying, "If hip-hop is dead, we die together — is itself a challenge to the rap game. "Every n---a under the age of 28 that raps — except for maybe five of you — needs to shut the f--- up for eight months," Nas said as a warning to his younger peers. "Get your mind right and learn what the f--- to say. That's gonna be a wakeup call." - Provided by MTV News