eMusic Review 0
Not to split hairs, but if you want to make a point about hip-hop's creative paralysis, it's probably not the best idea to do so over a production track you yourself already used six years earlier. Or maybe that's the point: Over a snippet of the Incredible Bongo Band's version of "Inna Gadda Da Vida" that he first deployed on 2004's "Thief's Theme," Nas goes after all-flash MCs, rapping, "Everybody sound the same." Maybe his sonic recycling is just the ironic punchline at the end of a bitter joke.
Hip-Hop is Dead raised hackles when it came out, read as both an excoriation of then-prominent Southern hip-hop and also as the album-length equivalent of an old man shaking his cane at the young kids fucking up his begonias. Time has revealed it to instead be more of a summary statement, Nas laying out the lessons he's learned in a tone that's almost fatherly. He's not scolding so much as reminiscing — if he sounds sad about the contemporary state of hip-hop, it's only because he played an active role in its formative years. To wit: "Where Are They Now?" which is essentially a laundry list of disappeared MCs, with Nas… read more »