Nas’ Hip Hop Is Dead attempted to send a powerful message. Nas’ criticism, it turns out, was directed at people closer to home. Hip Hop Is Dead was mostly addressed towards his New York rap colleagues.
Nas was assisted by will.i.am on the title track. The Queensbridge MC was even shown putting a black rose into a grave on the album cover. While talking to the Philadelphia radio station 100.3 The Beat, Nas explained the track depicted his mourning of the apparent demise of the art form he helped to shape and elevate.
“Everybody sound the same, commercialize the game/Reminiscing when it wasn’t all business.”
The latest edition of his and Miss Info’s Spotify podcast, The Bridge: 50 Years of Hip Hop featured Jeezy as a special guest. There he discussed that Hip Hop Is Dead was mostly addressed towards his New York rap peers.
“I didn’t think that certain people would think I’m talking about them. Oh nah, I’m talking about mainly New York! Mainly New York. I’m talking to everybody, but I didn’t explain it thorough enough.”
While Nas didn’t mention names, 50 Cent, Fat Joe, Busta Rhymes, Fabolous, Lloyd Banks, Tony Yayo, and Dipset’s Cam’ron, Jim Jones, and Juelz Santana helped usher in a newer, modern period in the Mecca of Hip Hop in the mid-2000s. Hip Hop Is Dead was never meant to be a critique of Southern rap in the first place.
The album was a commercial triumph, topping the Billboard 200 with over 350,000 first-week sales and approaching platinum status. Check out Hip Hop Is Dead in the video below.
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