NAS Hip-Hop Is Dead
Def Jam :: December 19, 2006


Nasir Jones has a message: Something is terribly wrong with the state of hip-hop today.

One of the greatest MCs to ever pick up a microphone, Nas has watched as his beloved hip-hop has gone from its innocent days of B-Boy battles and lyrical sport to today's fake-thug posturing and commercial excesses, and he's got something to say about it. Throughout his storied career - which began with 1994's classic Illmatic and has spanned the last decade with over 12 million albums sold - Nas has been more than just the genre's foremost lyricist and thinker. He has become a statesman, some would argue hip-hop's "conscience."

As evidenced by last year's highly-publicized reconciliation with longtime adversary JAY-Z, and his subsequent signing to Def Jam Recordings, Nas has shown that actions speak louder than words: unity is more powerful than divisiveness. The time has come for hip-hop to grow. Now, with the December 19 release of his long-awaited Def Jam debut - the aptly-titled Hip-Hop Is Dead - Nas returns to his role as mentor and teacher, his legendary mic skills as sharp as ever, and takes today's young rappers back to school. The lesson? Hip-Hop - As Nas sees it - is very much alive.

"What I mean by 'hip-hop is dead' is we're at a vulnerable state," Nas recently told MTV News. "If we don't change, we gonna disappear like Rome. Let's break it down to a smaller situation. Hip-hop is Rome for the 'hood. I think hip-hop could help rebuild America... We are our own politicians, our own government, we have something to say."

Nas keeps it vital from jump. On "Q.B. True G," featuring Compton's The Game, the two MCs trade verses over a vicious Dr. Dre beat; the student pays homage to the teacher, remembering standing on line to cop Illmatic. On the Nas-produced "Where Are They Now," Nas runs through a litany of classic, bygone MCs over a monster James Brown sample. "Still Dreamin'" features a soul-heavy beat and hook from Kanye West. Elsewhere, Snoop Dogg shows up on the west-coast tinged "Play On Player."

Will.I.Am productions show up twice on the album: the title track, "Hip-Hop Is Dead" is set to a heavy rock beat interspersed with old-school breaks and showcases some of Nas' most dexterous mic work in years. "Unforgettable," featuring Def Jam songstress Chrisette Michele, riffs off a Nat King Cole sample, with Nas' looking forward to the golden years, while looking back on his past: "When was the last time you heard a true anthem/Nas, the millionaire, the mansion/When was the last time you heard your boy Nas rhyme/Never on schedule, but always on time."

Finally, Nas brings an uncompromising political stance on "White Man's Paper (War)" featuring Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley . Set to a throbbing Bob Marley sample, Nas flirts with controversy, chanting: "I get my news from that white man's paper/So I get my views from that white man's paper/ My people act a fool for that white man's paper/And I don't think it's cool, Fuck that white man's paper/ No books in our school cuz that white man's paper, Is droppin' cruise missiles on the head of our neighbors/And I'm like why?"

The tones and themes throughout Hip-Hop Is Dead should be familiar to Nas fans: defiance and wisdom, mourning and hope. However, his perspective, focus and intensity have changed. There is a new sense of urgency in Nas' pleas for change.

"When I say 'hip-hop is dead,' basically America is dead," Nas continues. "There is no political voice. Music is dead. Our way of thinking is dead, our commerce is dead. Everything in this society has been done. That's where we are as a country."

Hip-Hop Is Dead, and the remarkable circumstance leading up to its creation, marks a new passage in Nas' story. While the past is certainly gone, and the present is constantly changing, with a new label and an incredible new album, Nas' future is an open page, waiting to be written.

Stay tuned for more....

Take full advantage of all JamBase has to offer by signing up for an account!

You'll receive

show alerts

when your favorite artists announce shows, be eligible to enter contests for

free tickets

, gain the ability to

share your personalized live music calendar

and much more. Join JamBase!



stinkd star Thu 11/2/2006 11:23AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Who is NAS ?????

Is he good, is he fly, is he dope, do we like his music ???

pinkfloydfan420 starstarstarstarstar Thu 11/2/2006 11:30AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Man, I can't wait for this album. Hopefully he'll take it back to how it was back in the Illmatic days and not create another "Street's Disciple" double disc disaster. For anyone who doesn't know Nas, do yourself a favor and give Illmatic a listen. It's only one of the best hip-hop albums ever.

Joshtafari starstarstar Thu 11/2/2006 11:51AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I would like to hear the track with Jr. Gong.

phunkle starstarstarstar Thu 11/2/2006 12:26PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I agree with Pinkfloydfan, NAS is outstanding. I don't listen to much hip hop anymore but will still long to hear Illmatic once in awhile. From the article it sounds like he has some renewed energy and he's a strong enough voice to make some changes in the direction the hip hop genre is going. I'll def give it a listen, and stinkd if you don't know NAS I'd give him a shot and pay close attention to what he's saying. The guy's a lyrical genius.

cmac712 starstarstarstar Thu 11/2/2006 12:41PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

NaS is amazing. Illmatic is definately one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time, there are so many good songs on that cd and the lyrics are ridiculous

cocheese Thu 11/2/2006 12:54PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Hip-Hop is dead, yes!!!

Jenny Jen Thu 11/2/2006 01:18PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Jenny Jen

I haven't listened to any Nas in the past few years except here and there, but he still reigns as one of the commercially acceptable in regards to "true" (that could be right?) the essence that Hiphop (, I think) can be traced back to a grassroots feel much like the jamband "scene," and much more defined as an overall counter-culture rather than a style of music. As many hiphopppers would say, "RAP IS SOMETHING YOU DO, HIP HOP IS SOMETHING YOU ARE..." Nas' album title is definitely Nas, and a gentle tip of the industry's iceburg thats being bombarded by suburbian kids raised on Little John screaming in desperation or for whatever reason, I don't think THEY even know at this point because if you'r a teenager these days that doesn't listen to rap, chances are you don't listen to much at all and are either the needles in the hay who have discovered pops' old vinyl or are getting beat up for wearing tight vintage tees from Millers Outpost and claiming Dashboard is punk.
Too many kids want to escape, and it's gonna take a helluva lot more than a semi-controversial rap song or two from an already established legend to get things going in the rap industry, I mean, this guy has his own clothing line, how rebel and underground renegade is that? I say, let's take it back to 79...

minutes Thu 11/2/2006 02:53PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

for more on NAS visit

Lupinemutton starstar Thu 11/2/2006 02:54PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


The last track from Nas I heard was on the 7L & Beyonder disc title Vinyl Thug Music from a year or two ago. Nas was sounding pretty weak and hating on Jay-Z the whole track. Really, really ironic that he signed to Def-Jam and sucked up the whole "Jay-Z stole my fame" routine. Boy he must feel like a punk. It's great that this jambase article takes that pitiful move and spins it in a "unity" direction. Did Nas sell out or buy in? or is there a difference. THis album will suck. I hope I'm wrong.

theorb419 Thu 11/2/2006 02:56PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


i know nothing about NAS except that he looks like he wants to be kanye west in that picture.

duckswiller Thu 11/2/2006 03:18PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I heard Trey beat up Nas.

Zcolip star Thu 11/2/2006 03:44PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Why is this being posted in Jambase? I like to think that when I look at this site I am getting out of the mainstream crap that is Nas.

matt87 star Thu 11/2/2006 03:57PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Nas does have nasty jams....

I just lost some respect for

NickBoeka Thu 11/2/2006 04:16PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I'm going to have to agree with Zcolip on this one here. I mean, is it because the press release had a "Marley" in it, and was automatically pulled by 'base? If we're going to be reading about Hip-Hop acts, perhaps ones that are actually represented at our events would be more relevant. Even the 'Roo doesn't have Nas or Snoop on its bills...but maybe I speak to soon....2007. (although I wouldn't be surprised if future 'Roo's are just a hodge podge of every scene, with 20 stages and not enough time in the weekend to walk from your tent to more than 4 stages). I guess I can't complain, at least there was some news posted today, and something for me to read/comment on while killing time at work.

simple-alex starstarstarstarstar Thu 11/2/2006 04:19PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


hold up guys, dont start hating yet..Nas is amazing. I am not a fan of rap, however i do listen to old school Outkast, the Fugees, the Roots, Jurrasic 5, some good Jay-Z stuff, and Nas. Nas is an amazing poet, great with his words. Hes not like rap out there on main stream radio, bling bling bitches hoes kind of stuff..he is deep and i have respect for him. Listen to the song "One Mic." And believe me, I HATE rap and the main streem type of stuff but the guys who are true poets are amazing to me.

birkenjam starstarstarstarstar Thu 11/2/2006 04:22PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

people have to chill.. if you are complaining about nas on this site than you should be complaining about mastodon, tv on the radio, and anything else that isnt "hippy". nas' work has a message that SCREAMS exactly what most conscious jam band followers preach, and he's spreading this word to a crowd that is in a much dire need of recieving it than the white bread trust fund hippy kids that leech on the scene today. just those few quotes show he's exactly in live with the message that headcount and have been trying to spread for years, and those are two organizations strongly back by people in our culture like bob weir and marc brownstein. get over yourself and appreciate that there are people willing to spread this message to a large part of our society that dont know what an inverted nug huffer is.

EVILFUNK starstarstarstarstar Thu 11/2/2006 04:30PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


NAS does have a hustle going in the mainstream but he gets alot of respect from the artist community and deserves it. being sucessfull alone does not really make or break an artist for me on what is it for me? pat benetar seems schwazoo but Nas seems like an ok direction...if jambase wants to grow i can deal with some cool hip hop or metal...i will say that when it comes to hip hop i personally get more out of what KRS1 is doing these days than NAS. i saw him recently and he spent the whole show shouting down corporate hip hop and some local corporate hip hop station. he called the station out by name fearlessly all night long! he was at a small club in huge mass of people to entertain because he was not playing for some big fat promotion machiene that expects him to do what the american consumer thinks is cool. no thug MTV shit. just hip hop....THE REAL HIP HOP!!! NO BIG SELL - JUST MUSIC!

one thing about MCs is that there are more of them out there these days trying to make somthing happen for themselves than there were tenor sax players in the history of jazz....thats alot. can we find one who has not had any love from the mainstream....unsigned talent put the jam in the jam scene....jambase and hip hop, eh ? who you got that we have not heard of?

simple-alex starstarstarstarstar Thu 11/2/2006 04:30PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


"nas' work has a message that SCREAMS exactly what most conscious jam band followers preach"

that was real man

matt87 star Thu 11/2/2006 04:43PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

i'm not saying he's a bad rapper, he just doesn't belong on a website specifically for jambands

alsoa101 star Thu 11/2/2006 04:44PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


vulpinemutton hit the nail on the head. replace the word unity with $$$ and then things gets clearer. anyone else see the irony in Will.I.Am producing the track "hip hop is dead"? typical nas, get pious over the state of hip-hop yet do a track with the game(mean MC but still symbolizes everything that many see to be wrong with rap today. street cred move?). if there's gonna be an article about mainstream hip-hop on here then cover jay's "comeback" least he sat in with phish, right?

"went from nasty nas to esco's trash
had a spark when you started but now you're just garbage
fell from top ten to not mentioned at all
to your bodyguard's "oochie wally" verse better than yours"

dedhed6111 Thu 11/2/2006 05:13PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I just want to give it up for ARMCAL with the sweeeeet Dashboard rip.

EVILFUNK Thu 11/2/2006 05:42PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


some of the comments here are better than the article.

sailorman Fri 11/3/2006 01:57AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


well, first off the game is actually a pretty good rapper for today's popular rap. that one song about aaliyah and left eye is a good song. and second if we are talking about hip-hop that should be on jambase it should be this band called Psyche Origami. they are the new wave in hip-hop. great lyrics with great beats. go check em out.

cliftonhanger420 Fri 11/3/2006 06:23AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

put the article on rapbase, not jambase. we don't want to hear about that crap here. i am guilty of listening to one rap duo called "Outkast". Only because they are different and don't talk about killing, money, and vanity. they talk about real life and cut out the b.s. i still don't think they should have an article here either. like i said, this is jambase. what sort of improvisation does NAS do, besides running his mouth. does he have a band that plays real instruments? then maybe.

nfenne starstarstarstar Fri 11/3/2006 07:12AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Thanks Jambase for offering a diverse coverage of music.

slapernicus starstarstarstarstar Fri 11/3/2006 07:32AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


All ya'll fools flaming Jambase for having an article about rap/hip-hop need to get a clue...if you think Jambase solely covers jambands you are OBVIOUSLY not paying attention...why can't it be just as varied as all the music out there??!! Cliftonhanger420, you are obviously young and have a lot of growing up to do...if you're questioning Nas' musical pedigree, then you need to do you're homework - his father is Olu Dara, pretty much the African equivalent of Taj Mahal and a huge influence on alot of these "jambands because they're on Jambase" (nigga pleeeez), such as Toubab Krewe, The Motet, Antibalas and any other afro-beat project out there that gets regular press on this site.

You know, I find it sadly ironic that this site that covers alot of "hippie" bands has people such as cliftonhanger420 (by his own comments a self-proclaimed hippie) that are only open to the music they like, yet hippies are always trying to push the perception that they are open to all cultures, ways of life, love, etc....yet when a brotha raps about something these "hippies" turn away, hate on it, and make judgements--you are illegitimizing EVERYTHING about the "counter-culture" you so loftly claim, believe it!!

ScatBeN Fri 11/3/2006 07:39AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

If you don't know Nas, pick up Illmatic. It was a groundbreaking album at the time, and still tears it up today. Hot Hot Shit.

The1AndOnlyDJCT starstarstarstarstar Fri 11/3/2006 08:21AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I have absolutely zero respect for anyone fronting on Nas, that's actually offensive to me, it trancends ignorance.

shainhouse starstarstarstarstar Fri 11/3/2006 08:44AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I love closemindedness... music is music, just like idiots are idiots. Cheers to JamBase!

spaceface7 starstarstarstarstar Fri 11/3/2006 09:32AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

This is a place for MUSIC. This article just reminded me on how I gotta work on my hip-hop collection. Nas, J5, Wu Tang, Tupac, Snoop, Method Man + Redman, and the lyrical genius KRS-1, its all good! and me thinks snoop @ B-roo would be sick (wish I went last year to catch cypress hill.) Props to jambase for hittin us with music articles and not just the jam

SCI123 starstarstarstarstar Fri 11/3/2006 09:38AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Totally agreed spaceface7. nas with The game, Kanye, damien and SNOOP! That shits gunna be hot! IM DOWN SNOOP
B-ROO 07!!!

dedhed6111 Fri 11/3/2006 10:13AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


cliftonhanger420. Have you ever actually LISTENED to Outkast before this current speakerboxx/lovebelow abomination and the disaster that was their pseudosuicidal musical movie production? Killing, vanity, and money have been part of Outkast's lyrics for years and years now. And guess what, all that stuff is "real life". especially for young african american men in the ghettos all over america. I can't even believe you have the ignorance to write your opinions down. I don't personally care for music that proclaims murder, money as the ultimate power, or the disrespect of women, but this is america, and while you sit in your upper middle class neighborhood doing the bankhead bounce on your mom's stereo, you've got to understand that "real life" doesn't just mean yours

cristalseth star Fri 11/3/2006 10:36AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Earth to trusties- Illmatic was released 12 years ago! It's always amusing when suburbanites try to defend Nas's relevance based on albums released over a decade ago.

JAMbase is entitled to report what they like, but if you all need to come to a website run by a bunch of white kids from San-Fran to get your news on hip-hop, then you're probably better off thinking Nas can still drop knowledge.

phhil star Fri 11/3/2006 10:45AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


then why are you posting this on a white man's web site? i know that not everyone here is white but... why do you depend on so many white people to sell albums? where is the blaks man's news paper? i hate when people try to use racial opression crap to sell cd's, it sounds so stupid. i was half way interested until i got to that part. stop bitchin start a revolution, until then keep reasding my paper. poor choice of words, saying that all white people are dropin bombs on people. what about black people offing THEMSELVES in record numbers? what ignorance

shainhouse Fri 11/3/2006 11:09AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

what the heck does race have to do with this? colour me confused.

jacobandbeth starstarstarstarstar Fri 11/3/2006 03:22PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Illmatic is a perfect example of true hip hop. Nas could not get a deal and had to produce it himself. That album is so raw I still bump it and love it as much as before. Props to jambase for not being closed minded (like so many of these exclusive "scene bashing" kids that come on here.) I love hip hop and will def. buy this album. Check out the movie BELLY if you like Nas...great shit. thanks jambase for having balls and not listening to whiners.

joshp1731 Sat 11/4/2006 09:25AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

he is good, fly and dope. he is hip hop. this guy is for real, check him out. the new album should be great.

Patjcostell star Sat 11/4/2006 10:28AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Jasco are you serious about Belly being a good movie, half of the dialogue was "You know what I'm saying". Substance wise it was horrible, there were some great asthetic qualities to the film as far as shot selection and lighting went, but Belly was just a mix of Malcom X, Scarface and any hood movie. If NAS wants to admonish the materialism and lack of social relevance in Hip Hop, which has been missing commercially for a long time, maybe his time would be better spent on a get out the vote drive. I love how people complain about perceived racial oppression but do nothing about it, especially when they are in a position to do something. There should be more members of the Afri-Amr entertainment community getting pissed off and looking inward at actual cultural problems than just Bill Cosby. It isn't about color anymore, it's about wealth, poor white people and poor black people are getting it the same. You know what I'm saying.

dangeorgio starstarstarstar Sat 11/4/2006 07:50PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Props to jambase. There isn't much but there is some good hip hop out there (common, kweli, mos, the roots and apparently nas) who want to bring hip hop back to its roots, when it was thought-provoking and mindful. These guys are hardcore, cuz they don't need to flash any bling to be cool, they speak their minds and that is harder than anything all of these girly-men rappers do.

Matthew Jaworski starstarstarstar Sun 11/5/2006 09:25AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Matthew Jaworski

The Mars Volta is better than Nas.

EVILFUNK starstarstarstarstar Sun 11/5/2006 12:49PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Belly was sick! as accurate as a big picture can be when dealing with sucth heavy subjects. Patjcostell ....STRIP, BICTH!

mum star Sun 11/5/2006 03:39PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

y is everyone bumming off nas hes a nob listening to eminem or ndubz and nelly and snoop dogg liven the place u boring old tossers

mum star Sun 11/5/2006 03:40PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

if u want to no my name its kirsty mccormack nas iz crappppppppppppp hi ya jade

trini. Sun 11/5/2006 07:43PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


slapernicus - right on. Agreed.

groovywinds star Mon 11/6/2006 07:41AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Hip Hop is alive and well and teh revival starts with bands like Panacea, just released on Rawkus Records check this shit out you will be blown away.....

thats like saying the wiorld is flat before you sail to the edge....

bassdrum200 Mon 11/6/2006 03:39PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


slapernicus- i dont particularly like nas in general, but since when did being in the "hippy" scene mean you had to like every type of music, just because it has a good message or what not. isnt the other half of the scene being able to accept other peoples arguments against the things that you like?

rjd999 Mon 11/6/2006 06:12PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Nas wants to say something along the lines of how hip hop is dead, and all of this commercial bullshit is watering down a form of expression that is still very young... so what does he do?? enlists snoop dogg, the game, kanye west, and fucking on the new record? the black eyes peas? come on man... and the game, i promise, will have at least 10 references to other rappers/celebrities in his verses, because thats as lyrical as he can get... i love illmatic, but man, that was a long time ago, and nas hasnt came correct since... minus decent efforts in I Am and It Was Written. Nas isnt doing anything but contradicting himself with this concept, as he is enlisting all of these gimicky "now" artists for this record... spare me, it shall get bootlegged

nathanjrod starstarstarstarstar Mon 11/6/2006 08:14PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


This just in: Jambase is about MUSIC not jams, f-ing n00bs.

Thanks for putting this up on the site - some folks just can't help their e-tardedness.

HOPEFULPHAN star Tue 11/7/2006 11:21AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

hippidy hop and rap suck. period. lets celebrate an image of violence and being uneducated. yeah that makes sense to me. im suprised this nas guy is still alive, hes been around for a while. im sure its only a matter of time before one of his rivals keeps it real and takes him out.

Wachs starstarstarstarstar Wed 11/8/2006 06:33PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I like Jam bands. I also like rap. Somewhere in the midst of this mess there was a god named George Clinton. Now both of these genres claim him as a founder. I hear grooves he played 30 years ago being brought back out to us by Galactic, as well as Snoop Dogg. I mean, if you "hate that gay rap shit," then I understand, but it is the same as a jig yappin about "that faggoty hippie shit." I know the messages they deliver are radically different, but shit, so is their culture. If you came from the hoods of Queens, your opinions might change. But Nas is a bigger name than most artists previewed here on Jambase, and still he is just small headline on the side. I am glad Jambase is open to everything, I do hope you don't stop focusing on good grooves. Simply put, if you don't fuckin' like it, don't fucking click it.

dmbariola Thu 11/9/2006 09:36AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


i like hip hop

superriot1079 starstarstar Sat 12/23/2006 01:26PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!