Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It


Hip Hop Is Dead (Def Jam)

As with 2004's "Thief's Theme," the title track to Nas' eighth disc is built around a sample of "In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida." But "Hip Hop Is Dead" also resurrects something else: a theme that's been floating around since the '90s. Back then, some argued Nas was not only squandering his talent, but actually killing hip hop with such platinum duds as Nastradamus.

By his last album, 2004's Street's Disciple, Nas had won back some credibility, yet his own career was in critical condition. And as a result, he has buried his beef with Jay-Z in hopes that Jigga's label can give Hip Hop Is Dead a commercial boost. It should work, since Kanye, Dr. Dre, and all produced tracks, one of which — "Can't Forget About You" — makes a pretty memorable flip of the standard "Unforgettable."

Still, this isn't the album Nas should've made. "Black Republican," his long-awaited duet with Hov, buries some great lines beneath messy production, while the Game, who guests on "QG Tru G," still doesn't belong on the same wax as the Big Apple legend. Nas' problems (as well as hip hop's) remain artistic, not commercial, and can't be solved by sheer star power. Until that misconception is resolved, the occasionally brilliant eulogy is the best we can expect from the guy. — Dan LeRoy


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"