Nas might not be a “street nigga”. Nas might’ve never “did anything he talked about” or “bussed his gun”. Nas might’ve never “been on the block” or “have street credibility”. Nas might not even have “any homies in the feds”. But God’s Son has 3,000 more reasons to believe the fans agree with him more than Young Jeezy that NEW Hip Hop is Dead
The first week totals for Hip Hop Is Dead (355,000) comes ironically one week after The Inspiration numbers (352,000). On Monie Love’s now infamous radio interview, Jeezy stated “You look at them first week numbers and we’ll talk about it”, insinuating he’ll prove hip hop isn’t dead by selling more than Esco right out the gate. Now I know nobody (myself included) thought Nas’ would’ve sold this much. But because of the remarkable marketing plan drawn up by Mr. Jones, Hip Hop Is Dead has become the sleeper smash hit of the year.
Only Game (358k), T.I. (522k) and Jay-Z (681k) scored better opening bows than Nas’ 8th solo LP in 2006. Though Game needed two videos (“One Blood” and “Strip Club”), T.I. needed a movie and Young Hov needed an immaculate Budweiser ad blitz. Not to mention Busta Rhymes who dropped 4 videos before his album dropped just to do 209,000. No 1.5 million dollar videos or label switching hype for Nasir. All the kid that got his chipped tooth fixed needed with a clever album title and a promo tour campaign that would’ve made Howard Dean proud.
Nas used reverse psychology on the hip hop world. Instead of preaching “Rap is messed up”, he calmly stated “fuck it, get your money, hip hop is dead anyway”. It’s like when your Junior High School class was making tons of noise and misbehaving, only to see your teacher calmly sitting in his or her seat not saying anything. That caused every kid in the class one by one to chill out and be on their best behavior until you could here a pin drop in the room, waiting for the professor to continue the lesson. That’s the effect Nas had. This caused every major news outlet, rapper, forum and blogger to start a word of mouth buzz, creating a sense of urgency rarely seen in music in this day and age. An album that people didn’t just want; they felt they NEEDED to buy in order to preserve what we have left of this culture.
Many of you know I’m one of the biggest Jeezy enthusiasts there is in the blogosphere. But he went against the wrong man this time. Nas is the last relevant link to the “golden age” in hip hop and the day when he is no longer relevant will be a sad time. But as long as he keeps reinventing himself and his message, I truly believe he’ll do as he said and be rapping when he’s 80.