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Hip Hop Is Dead [Vinyl]
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  • Title and all, Nas's eighth solo album clearly intends to spark controversy. But what gives Nasir Jones the right to declare that HIP HOP IS DEAD? For one Nas's 5-mic debut album ILLMATIC represents the best of a by-gone era. Since then he's tried to find his place in the ever-evolving genre, flirting with the mainstream to mixed results, all the while mired in beef with former allies and childhood friends as well industry rivals. The fact that HIP-HOP IS DEAD is the product of his teaming with one of those former(?) rivals, Jay-Z, shows that business trumps beef--as Nas emphasizes on track one, "Money Over Bullshit."
  • The title cut, with its pounding Iron Butterfly beat and nihilistic lyrics, is profoundly provocative. And while the long-awaited collaboration with Jay-Z on "Black Republicans" will inevitably draw attention, Nas shows he's best on his own--doing his Sam Spade impression in the hard-boiled detective story "Who Killed It"; producing an unapologetic swansong to his hood life in "Not Going Back"; and spitting introspective street poetry in "Can't Forget About You." Nas is past trying to relive his ILLMATIC glory--and that's ultimately the point--yet HIP HOP IS DEAD contains both the gutter ghetto anthems and gritty brilliance that made him a legend in the first place.
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (p.72) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Nas never solves the crime, but his point is implicit -- few MCs are taking the artistic chances he does."

Entertainment Weekly (p.84) - "[D]enser and more grandiose than the minimalist digital funk heard on rap radio." -- Grade: B

Vibe (p.109) - "HIP-HOP IS DEAD is a loud, expansive album, packed with brand names and big ideas -- and is arguably the best thing Nas has done since 1996's IT WAS WRITTEN."

XXL (Magazine) (p.133) - "Nas' latest opus comprises solid lyrics and layered beats and proves that hip-hip isn't dead, it's just been asleep..."

Mojo (Publisher) (p.100) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "A fully realised, painstakingly compiled assault on hip hop's slide into bling-ridden mediocrity."
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