Hip Hop is Dead?
Partially leaving his campaign against the state of hip hop in Hip Hop Is Dead, Nas bears the weight of a messenger yet again with his controversial untitled ninth album. The album subtly combines elements of political consciousness, pop cultural commentary, and the personal struggle and hardships of the African-American experience.Nas storms through verses as he prefaces the album over a simple piano riff with “”Queens Get the Money.”” It’s as if he was trying to convince himself and his audience that his relevance in the rap game is still evident. With a recent Grammy nomination, Nas surely didn’t have to.
In what seems like an odd pairing, Chris Brown joins Nas in “”Make the World Go Round.”” Almost harkening back to the days of Illmatic and It Was Written, the track recalls a â€šÃ„Ã²90s tinge of youth-like, MTV-ready optimism and a less angry Nas, thus possibly even being a stylistic sequel to “”If I Ruled the World (Imagine That).””
Keri Hilson, previously known for her songwriting work, shines as a recording artist in Nas’ lead single “”Hero.”” Its thumping bass pumps up Nas’ attempt to touch upon his rebellious act of shock and awe to originally name the album Nigger, while bringing back his mission to save hip hop.
Maybe Nas didn’t save hip hop, nor will he probably ever, but one thing’s for sure: Despite the reluctance of the general music fan struggling with Nas’ messages, this album bleeds hip hop. In a world where hip hop has to be accepted as “”genuine”” because of underground credibility or alternative songwriting, Nas still brings his verses as strong as he ever could.