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    • XXL
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Nas
Hip-hop Is Dead

nas.jpgNas raised quite a few eyebrows when he announced that the title of his highly anticipated eighth studio album would be Hip Hop Is Dead. On a surface level, it appeared that one of the game’s most respected lyricists was leaving the music in the hands of the “Chicken Noodle Soup” generation. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Now under the Carter administration, the former chipped-tooth don is ready to resurrect the culture and explain why he still loves H.E.R.

As with any eulogy, mourners reminisce on good times spent with the dearly departed. Such is the case with tracks like the haunting Chris Webber–produced “Blunt Ashes” and the James Brown–jacked “Where Are They Now.” The latter shows a reflective Nas harking back to the days of Black Sheep and Ill Al Scratch, because “they the reason that rap became addictive/Play their CD or wax and get lifted.”

Nas’ storytelling takes center stage on the vivid hood tale “You Can’t Kill Me” and the Kanye West–produced “Still Dreaming.” But God’s Son saves his most powerful bars for the scathing “Carry On Tradition,” where his utter disdain for the current state of hip-hop is displayed (“Some
of you new rappers, I don’t understand your code…/Do anything to get in the game/Mixtapes you spit hate against bosses/Hungry fucks are moralless.”

Nas does have a few stumbles along the way. The shallow Snoop Dogg–assisted “Play On Playa,” with its pimpalicious vibe, actually seems like the type of song Mr. Jones just finished critiquing. And although the idea of doing a modern day whodunit like “Who Killed It” is light-years beyond most MCs’ mind frame, the cheesy film noir detective voice he uses distracts from the overall message. Aside from that, Nas’ latest opus comprises solid lyrics and layered beats and proves that hip-hop isn’t dead, it’s just been asleep—and sleep is the cousin of death. —SEAN A. MALCOLM

——-

Read the rest of XXL’s Critical Beatdown review section in the XXL’s March 2007 issue (#89)

  • Mza09

    This Lp should have been XXL…this shit is hot..Nas came up on this one and it deserves to be on the list of XXL…1st

  • http://yahoo.com jasiya1:9

    THE 1ST NIGGA WITH THE 1ST RAPPER….THAT ALBUM WAS AIGHT…HE HAS HORRIBLE BEATS…..HE NEEDS MORE BANGERS

  • http://www.hillary.org/hc/Hillary_Clinton_Forum_1200_chat1.cgi Jason Hinkle

    Hi-hop might be dead.Hillary Clinton is not.Check it yo-http://www.hillary.org/hc/Hillary_Clinton_Forum_1200_chat1.cgi VOTE the Roof tops

  • http://XXLmag.com Westside Money aka G-Unite

    I’ll say this hip hop is dead was rated perfectly on XXL. I bought it and even though Nas my favorite rapper I was a lil dissapointed because it was kinda just too soft he didnt have any hard tracks or something that you could really feel like songs like made you look, one mic, ny state of mind or even nas is like it was more just a solid album I give it about a 9 out of 10 nothin more Illmatic still remains his best album.

  • jalfred

    That album should be xxl you guys rate clipse shit xxl and that shit was straight garbage. Hip Hop Is Dead Is a classic one of nas best albums. Every song on there is hot but who killed you

  • http://yahoo.com jasiya1:9

    THIS ALBUM DIDNT LIVE UP TOO THE HYPE AT ALL…..HE ONLY HAS A FEW BANGERS, THE ONE WITH GAME IS THE SICKEST TRACK ON THERE…..

  • http://myspace.com/gunitsoldier50xl Ether

    This Album Is Just The Fix I Needed. All Tracks Is Dope Except “Who Killed It” Can’t Wait Til His Next Joint To Come Out.

  • Yun

    All the tracks are dope, not one song is wack,and I dont see why people are tryna diss the beats cuz they not that bad at all, this album will go down as a classic in my opinion

  • Cuban Link

    And although the idea of doing a modern day whodunit like “Who Killed It” is light-years beyond most MCs’ mind frame, the cheesy film noir detective voice he uses distracts from the overall message.

    ^i am so sick of people thinking this song isnt good.This is prolly on of the most ingenious songs ever made.My favorite song off the cd, and (next to a few songs from the Root’s album) is prolly one of my favorite songs all year to be honest.

  • derfla the hus’la

    my fav rapper the cd is dope as fuck can’t hate the kid…. best rapper alive

  • Chi-City

    Honestly everyone saying he needed more bangers needs to stop. The songs with the softer edge where Nas just reminisces are the most effective by far. One of the best albums this year with The Roots and Lupe.

  • TWON

    the album is dope as fuck all you haters can eat a dick I will be a NAS fan forever “THE KING IS BACK”

  • http://yahoo.com jasiya1:9

    ALL OF YOU’LL SHUT THE FUCK UP CAUSE WHAT JASIYA 1:9 SAYS…..GOES…..

  • wasted

    The album is ok, it’s nothing special.. I would give it 6 out of 10 ..

  • MoreFish

    nice album
    only one or two songs I skip like “you cant kill me” and maybe “not going back”
    everthing else is real good IMO:

    MOB 5/5
    carry on tradition 4.75 (lyrics 5)
    where are they now 5
    HHID 4.25
    who killed it? 5 (on concept alone: 5)
    black republicans 5
    still dreaming 5
    hold down the block 5
    blunt ashes 4.5
    let there be light 5
    play on playa 4.25
    cant forget about you 5
    hustlers 4.75

    I would give it 9/10 overall. Probably one of the better albums of 2006.

  • JeRSeY ReSiDeNT

    THiS WAS A SERiOUS ALBUM..IF YA’LL DON’T GOT iT..ii ADViSE YOU TO GO GET THAT SHiT..XL?? WELL ii DONT KNO YA’LL GAVE THAT CLiPSE JOiNT..A XXL N EVEN THO iMMA CLiPSE FAN THAT SHiT WAS MADDDD OVERRATED..SO ii DUNNO

  • brown power

    Haha because Illmatic was made up of all bangers? Morons, this album flows.

    Oh remember, Jeezy was talking about comparing first week number sales? Nas ripped Jeezy the Fakeman.

  • Frazetaneo

    xxl… they gotta re-rate this jint cause is hot as hell. black republican is the banger of the moment and jigga and esco reunited fo good

  • anonymous

    this album shouldnt have the same rating as “Hustler’s POME”. Come on now…

  • ezz

    i have mad love for nas but i have to say that i expected more. there were a few tracks that were just wack like “who killed it”. and i thought premo was gonna make some tracks on this shit. overall i agree with the xl rating.

  • SourceOne

    It’s funny how Nas’ album, as hot as it is, only got an XL,while the Clipse’s shit got a XXL, and their album was total GARBAGE!
    XXL, YA SLIPPIN!

  • YOUNG STUNNA

    anonymous Says:

    February 1st, 2007 at 1:34 pm
    this album shouldnt have the same rating as “Hustler’s POME”. Come on now…

    that is so true this albums lacks in so many areas and hustlers p.o.m.e is a very solid album probably the best album of 2006.

  • YOUNG STUNNA

    oh and fuck nas faggot trying too kick knowledge

  • john cochran

    How can you compare a Nas album to a Jim Jones album when Jones simply CAN NOT RAP. Thats just crazy. Even if every beat on jones ‘ shit was a 10 he still wouldn’t compare. Now I agree, Nas could’ve found some harder beats and took more chances, but he said more important stuff on this one album than Jones will probably say his whole career. I couls see if you said game album was better but jones’, cmon. I agree with jalfred, the clipse’s album had the same problem ( a couple weak beats) but they got xxl. Some body got paid.

  • Sikko

    Yo yung stunna the other dude meant nas album should be higher. Yo Idiot. How can you tell me that NAS the n ESCOBAR The Nastiest. Is in the same company as Jim jones. PLz shutup and listen to lyrics. Yung stunna your a dumbass beat rider. Go learn sumptin about MUSIC beforey your next post.

  • illmatic

    Fuck XXL and Fuck Source…XXL gave jim jones xl, and nas not xxl?

    The only track that I can skip on this album is “not going back”(although he says some things here).

    Want a banger song? Black Republican(i didnt like it first but now, love it)

    Money Over Bullshit, Hustlers…

    Give respect and props when due…all you who hating are just part of the mainstream mass who dont know shit about world. 98% of you dont even know where Iraq is on map.

  • illmatica

    dont say Illmatic is his best album.

    Illmatic is best hip hop album period. If you like John Lennon, Zeplin, more rock, alternative, classical music…you would know how great Illmatic is. Every true music fan knows illmatic. Its one of best albums in any genre. You should be proud that hip hop album is respected as much, cause most people say fuck hip hop.

  • Marc

    Nas the KIng
    The Game The Second Coming
    G-Unit court jesters
    haahah

  • Fuck all yall

    Nas is 1 tha nicest on them mic devices! Niggas betta stop actin like Nas ain’t they favorite rappers favorite rapper! It’s not tha best album from my guy, but it is fo real. I feel tha message & understand what he is tryin 2 get the rest of yall lame ass people 2 realize!?

  • Fuck all yall

    Young Stunna Fuck u & Jim Jones! See even dumb niggas know My nigga be Spittin Knowledge! Detroit, 6 Mile! Holla!!!!!!!!!!!! Bum Ass Niggas

  • anonymous

    lol dude got my words twisted before… I meant Jim Jones’ album is wiggidy whack

  • http://www.myspace.com/zeeprod Zee Productions

    Michael Jackson – Smooth Criminal ZeeMix

    Tupac, Biggie, Big L – Deadly Combination ZeeMix

    The Game – One Blood ZeeMix

    Nas – Hope ZeeMix

    Prod. By Zee…Hottest Beats Comin from the UK, and from a 16 year old!
    feel free 2 add the tracks to your profiles.

    http://www.myspace.com/zeeprod

  • Hurricane Game

    that needed a xxl rating.
    Bullshit what xxl mag is doing.
    One of Esco’s best albums behind Illmatic and God’s Son.
    Hustler’s is straight fire.
    Should be the next single off the album.

  • derfla the hus’la

    YOUNG STUNNA Says:

    February 2nd, 2007 at 5:52 pm
    oh and fuck nas faggot trying too kick knowledge
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    lol!!!!!!! since when was knowledge wack…..I swear….

  • The N

    yall trippin saying its escos 2nd best album.
    Illmatic always on top.

    Lost Tapes(not rated cause not official studio?)

    It Was Written(should of been 5 mics but was whole sellout thing)

    Stillmatic(5 mics)/ I Am(remember, it got 4.5 micss)
    God’s Son/Hip Hop Is Dead(4 mics)

  • lou

    Nas is the illest rapper dead or alive im feeling this album alot hiphop ain’t dead and he is the reason why!

  • KrooX

    …the album is aight! kinda laid back! but it has no fuckin inpact on HipHop at all! so an L ratin would be cool wit me! my favorite “hold down the block”! Holla!

  • Stax On Deck

    Ima check it out…

  • thecoolguy

    ayo man if clipse got a xxl then nas shouldave gotten 1 to. not that the clipse aint deserve iot its just hhid was better.

  • http://www.myspace.com/eliteteam El

    Weak review…the rating is cool. But your review is garbage man. SORRY. And just so you know…yes, I can do better.

  • HEYSUGA730

    I REMEMBER NASTY NAS. ORIGINAL SHIT. THE DUDE RHYME SICK. BACK WHEN HE WAS DOWN WIT WU-TANG CUZ OF HIS RHYME SKILLZ. EVEN BEFORE THAT. WHEN HE DROPPED HALFTIME ON THE BELLY MIX TAPE…I THINK HE’S PLAYIN WIT HIP HOP. HE’LL DROP A HIT OR TWO IN EVERYONE OF HIS ALBUMS TO GET A SALE. THEN RHYME SOFT SO THE NEXT VICTOM GROW SOME HEART AND THEN DEAD EM’ DUDE RHYME SICK WHEN HE WANTS. EVEN WIT HALF ASS BEATS HE STILL KILLEN SHIT ALL THESE YEARS. I JUST SEE IT LIKE IT IS. WE GONNA SEE WATS NEXT. PERSONALLY I FEEL HE’S PLAYIN WIT MUTHA FUCKAS…QB TO BK 4 EVA NYC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!(PAPOOSE GOIN DOWN THAT SAME ROAD…SICK LYRICS THAT HALF THESE MUTHA FUCKAS CAN’T COMPREHEND THEN RECORDS DON’T SELL)… “THE DUMB INTIRGUED BY THE DRUM” WU-TANG…

  • Frazetaneo

    How can u niggas compare esco to a nigga that screams ballin all the time a onthe record… come on show some luv fo real hip hop music. rythim and poetry… this is nas and that’s what rap stands for. Step your game up. And nas album is straight xxl

  • YOUNG STUNNA

    just like his career this album is a dissapointment so get off his dick this nigga is trash.

  • Rook2Bishop

    Need to take a real look and listen. Half of you dumb asses can’t even remember what real hip hop is. This is a classic. Do I admit he could of done better with the beats on some levels, yes. But when it comes to lyrics, you can not compare a diamond to a crystal, even if it is encased in platinum, like half of these wack as rappers. ‘Clipse better than Esco?? What is the world coming to. Next you will tell me Cam is better than Jay. Respect for the greats, ‘ nuff said.

  • Cy

    I think Nas is putting too much effort into the beats. Look at Illmatic… Nothing complicated about them, but he spend two years writting songs and composing. If only he focused like that for the album, agree? Because it’s true I think Hip-Hop is slowly dying and I Don’t think Nas gave it the send off it deserved?

  • Owen

    whoo this is a XXL classic rating fo sho xxl needs new critics they dont know what they lookin for except 50 cent

  • Owen

    whoo this shit is a XXL classic for sho XXl needs new critics they dont know what they lookin for

  • WhiteBoyzLuvGunit

    i jus copped dis….hot. The rating was kinda off, shoulda been 2X, but X is ight I guess

  • AGHH!!!!!

    YOUNG STUNNA YOU ASSHOLE HE MAY HAVE ONLY 1 GOOD ALBUM BUT HE IS STILL THE G.O.A.T.

  • TUNED2IT

    THE N is back wit more heat not on schedule but always on time. TUNED2IT

  • TheRefriedMexican

    No way this album is a “XL”. Im a big Nas fan but this album is sub-par!

  • DJQ

    Nas is fire this is real hip-hop my nigga

  • WestSide Fo Life

    Nas iz rite hip hop is fuckin dead i try tah listen to some of dis shit on the radio or bet or anything and itz tha WACKEST FUCKIN HIP-HOP EVA. tha only REAL albums from 06 is HIP HOP IS DEAD & THE DOCTORS ADVOCATE. all dis otha shit iz WACK. all tha songz on tha album iz fuckin sick except fo a couple but all u wack azz niggaz dat b listnin to shit like dat fag MIMS or UNK need to shut tha fuck up and hatin on dis lil real hip hop datz left today.

  • Moe

    This is real hip-hop. Nas knows hip-hop ain’t dead he said it him self to me hip-hop is in its death bead with cancer. I hope she can beat the cancer

  • OFFiCiAL MAMii

    NAS IS THE GREATEST THING THAT EVA HAPPENED TO HIP HOP. HANDS DOWN. FUCK THE HATERS YALL CAN SUCK MY CLIT. YOU CANT EVEN COMPARE JIM JONES TO NAS. JIMMY IS STRAIGHT GARBAGE AND SO IS THE REST OF DIPSET. NURSERY RHYMIN ASS NIGGAS GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE …..

  • Controversy

    Hip Hop Is Dead is the best cd to come out in the last 18 months, hands down. Pppl are still talking about whether hip hop is dead, nas made his point. Now he just needs more production from kanye & just blaze

  • Hip-Hop ain’t dead, it still vibes inside of every1 of u

    Let the future generation decide if this album would be a classic. After all, it took about a decade for It was Written to be recognized as a classic (minus the sellout part). In a decade, Food and Liquor, Be, both of Kanye’s album, and Hip-Hop Is Dead would be recognized as classics IMO.

  • ALAN MARTINEZ

    HIP-HOP IS DEAD IS ONE OF NAS BEST. IF YOU REALLY LOVE HIP-HOP, YOU SHOULD GET THIS ALBUM. THIS IS HIS BEST ALBUM SINCE STILLMATIC AND ILLMATIC. THANK YOU XXL MAGAZINE FOR GIVING NAS A XL ON THIS ALBUM. HE IS A GREAT LYRICIST.

  • King John

    This album is on some overrated rated shit just like Nas’s career an XL is a stretch I would have given it an L