Sunday, August 13, 2006

Deja Vu

Plans for a Cuban Linx 2 have been on the table for some time now. Subsequently, that people have again taken interest in a new Raekwon album, after Immobilarity and The Lex Diamond Story both sunk like the heaviest stones in a sea of indifference, is really proof of the power of the name Cuban Linx. In many ways, it seems like whatever attention has grown out of talks of a sequel really stem from the 90's New York Hip-Hop crowd wanting a return to the RZA-led, sample-heavy coke lyricism that inspired heads over a decade ago, back when Wu was in their prime, the city was still winning, and Ghost, Nas, and Rae had the best product on the block. While all three MC's are still around, that line from Verbal Intercourse especially represents a time when they were each a reputable force, more than just a mere presence in the game. Appropriately enough, with all the talks of a CL 2, question / hopes of a Verbal Intercourse 2 have followed close by. Beyond RZA turning The Emotions If You Think into a genius moment of "how the hell did he . . ." and the chemistry shared between the trio, a return to his Escobar style would give many a reminder of the vintage Nas that propelled "through the lights, cameras, and action, glamour, glitters, and gold" to all-time quotable territory.

Receiving specific honor in The Source and establishing itself as one of the greatest verses ever put down on record, Nas' go on Verbal Intercourse remains a high mark in Hip-Hop lyricism. The verse, in a scant forty-five seconds, manages to encapsulate a lifetime of observation. It's Nas back in stoop philosopher form, capturing the mind state of the street soldier, these prisoners of a multi-faceted war, and the beast right behind them all. Nas' reference to this character of "the beast" harkens back to Memory Lane and Illmatic's Rotten Apple depictions of the city, once more shrouding the scene in a mythic-like cover. But beyond the keen narration or structure of his rhymes, Nas shines simply in the unique way he's able to phrase his thoughts, "the beast'll rise like yeast . . . trick my Wisdom with the system that imprisoned my son . . . things I do is real, it never haunts me . . . props is a true thug's wife . . . from the womb to the tomb, presume the unpredictable -- guns salute life, rapidly, that's the ritual." Fitted with a highly poeticized speech, Verbal Intercourse exemplifies Nas' gift as a storyteller with a maturation to his words often reaching beyond his years.

However, as timeless as this verse has become, according to Raekwon, in XXL's Making of Cuban Linx special, it was not the only one Nas tried out in the studio, "he had already went through three or four rhymes, and he couldn't really see which one he wanted it to be. But I heard it. Once it came out his mouth, I was like, 'that's it.'" While it has never been specifically confirmed, we can safely assume that those other rhymes Nas was going through would show up on the unreleased Deja Vu. Deja Vu, a lost tape fans have replayed over and over despite poor quality or J-Love drops, begins, with only slight modifications, just as Verbal Intercourse did, "through the lights, cameras, and action." However, it's all uncharted land after that first verse. (On the similarly-lost Goodfellas, Nas again reused a portion of this unreleased rap.) From its depressed piano-led beat to its simple but memorable hook, Deja Vu has established itself as arguably the greatest unreleased Nas song. Two verses of near or equal stature to Verbal Intercourse don't hurt either.

Blunts, thugs, and alcohol, what a mixture
Just picture your life as a whole, judged in court they convict ya
They telling you your state of mind like you worthless
So he curses, his mom saying Bible verses
That's all she works with
But miracles never leave the churches
Instead it hits the pockets of the preacher just to purchase
A house with a swimming pool, labels me a sinning fool
I'm just a nigga who inherited a winning jewel
To be a trendsetter when ever subject to
Respect this is and all respect due is the essential
The street life hustle in the struggle broke ghettos
Boiling coke settles slow inside a glass kettle
Darren Levy on my TV, lifestyles of living easy
Got my crew tense plotting the gyps to get whips with BB's
Pushing cakes, new NRX's with temp. plates
Celebrating elevation in the seeds that we make

Escobar life, gems and raw Tims
Gators for pretty boy haters in Vegas
With chicks tricking fortunes
I'm glistening, housing cops whistling
Still I'm drifting in the high, blunts is like insulin
'95-I, I drive, high, zoning
Stash box zone in my trunk, I flash knots, teeth golden
Look at me now, ma, blowing
But how far? Cars, cash and bitches got me out
Wanting things you never dreamed I could have vouch for
Snake niggas slither on their A-Alikes
I ain't a Christian but I find that we're praying like
Never the one to ask all the time to a saint
A mask and a nine I think will make my problems sink
Down a canal similar to how we drink
Distinct diamond-flooded Sphinx shines on my linx
Drug money, snorting bitches in the end of time
Got my mind till I flat line nigga gimme mine

Nas: Deja Vu
Raekwon f/ Ghostface Killah, Nas: Verbal Intercourse
BONUS: Cormega f/ Nas: Goodfellas


Anonymous Subculture said...

Yo Fletch...who produced Deja Vu? Sounds like maybe Pete Rock or Q-tip?

August 13, 2006 2:02 PM  
Anonymous stu -- top dude said...

if lost tapes 2 ever drops, de ja vu would be mandatory... and yea that beat does sound like Tip or maybe Extra P

August 13, 2006 8:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey cna you do an athology of all the songs mega and nas did together.


August 14, 2006 4:07 PM  
Blogger Fletch said...

Off the top of my head, these are the songs that I can think of that featured both Cormega and Nas:

Affirmative Action
Affirmative Action remix
La Familia
On The Real

And if that's all of them, they've all been posted by now (except for the org. AA which everyone should have from IWW).

Sub, I don't have any educated guess as to who did the Deja Vu beat. It's certainly good though--wouldn't mind the instrumental.

SIDENOTE: If anyone does have ideas for new entries, as always, hit the email.

August 14, 2006 6:55 PM  
Anonymous Ill E said...

fletch: one more song with Escobar and Mega was "Da Bridge 2001"

there was also the Incarcerated Scarfaces freestyle that they had,but that's not really a "song" must of been a freestyle they did before IWW came out. because Nas spit the 1st verse from "The Message" on that freestyle. Mega killed that track

I'll hit you up one of these days with an idea I've been thinking about.

August 15, 2006 6:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DeJa Vu is number 2 as my favorite unreleased Nas gem,The Rise and The Fall is numero uno,keep up the good work

August 16, 2006 5:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When Nas mentions "the beast", he is talking about the devil. The bible, as well as the prophecies of Nostradamus (why else Nastradamus?), use this term.

October 04, 2006 1:58 AM  

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