Sunday, November 12, 2006

Black Republican

"Let's go, Esco."

I think if you know the words to a rap song, that generally means the song had a noticeable effect on you. If you know the track's ad-libs, that means you heard it again and again, hopefully for good reason. If you know what one rapper said at a concert to another rapper, pretty much to the point of memorization, even though that concert took place on the other side of the country when you were at work one Thursday night, chances are that's history.

In 2001, Jay-Z took to the Summer Jam stage to set off a lyrical beef with the rapper Nas that quickly became one of the most influential on-record feuds in all of Hip-Hop. Then, four years later, on that October night of last year, Jay-Z was joined on stage by Nas. The immediate surge of energy felt throughout the venue quickly spread via cell phone and soon enough video, until the pairing of these two heavyweights had taken over rap music once more. While it remains to be seen if the impact of their newly-formed alliance will measure up to the impression left by their past rivalry, for whatever concerts or interviews the two have held together, ultimately, the collaboration with the most hope and interest will always be the music. Today, we get our first glimpse of what that music holds.

Hip-Hop Is Dead . . . December 19th.

I feel like a black militant taking over the government
Can't turn my back on the hood, too much love for them
Can't clean my act up for good, too much thug in him
Probably end up back in the hood, I'm like, "fuck it then"

I'm back in the hood, they like, "hey Nas"
Blowing on purp', reflecting on they lives
Couple of Fat Cat's, couple of AI's
Dreaming of fly shit instead of them gray skies
Gray 5's, hate guys wishing our reign dies
Pitch, sling pies, and niggas they sing, why?
Guess they ain't strong enough to handle their jail time
Weak minds, keep trying, follow the street signs
I'm standing on the roof of my building
I'm feeling - the whirlwind of beef, I inhale it
Just like an acrobat ready to hurl myself though the hoops of fire
Sipping 80 proof, bulletproof under my attire
Could it be the forces of darkness against hood angels of good
That form street politics - makes a sweet honest kid
Turn illegal for commerce - to get his feet out of them Converse
That's my word

Nas f/ Jay-Z: Black Republican
BONUS: Carmine Coppola: Murder of Don Fanucci


Blogger Renato Pagnani said...

Yeah, I'm waiting this one out. I can't spoil such a historical moment, so I'm not going to touch this (or anything else from Hip-Hop Is Dead) until the finished, full album leaks.

My friend was at the listening party a few days ago and he says the album is epic, and there's still a few more tracks being mixed and mastered with a DJ Premier song very likely being among those.

November 12, 2006 12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Premo said he aint doing a track on HHID, but this song is fire and the beat is so fuking ill.

November 12, 2006 1:53 PM  
Anonymous stu top dude said...


November 12, 2006 1:58 PM  
Blogger Fletch said...

Yeah, I posted the latest Premier news in the comments section of the last Roundup post.

However, back to the song . . . and this is me stealing the idea from someone at okayplayer, but if they can turn this track into a video, then the parade scene in Godfather II, where the sample is taken from, sets it up perfectly: Jay as Fanucci, strolling the streets, this great figure of equal parts respect and disdain, with Nas as a Young Vito stalking over the New York rooftops. Then switch up the ending, so that when they meet at Fanucci's door, they both win.

I'm happy that this came out as it did: not only do Jay and Nas spit good verses, and not only does each rapper's rendition of the hook fit their own style perfectly, but it just ended up so cinematic, epic even--especially fitting given all the history and build-up. All the pressure in the world on 'em, and they took it in just the right direction.

November 12, 2006 2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great song. can't wait for the CDQ.

November 12, 2006 5:27 PM  
Blogger Game Theory said...

This track is extremely satisfying for it's purpose on all corners. I had goosebumps off the intro, where the two of them come in with the 'uhs'. My biggest concern before I heard this was whether or not the beat would suffice--it did. LES, or whoever laced this instrumental set this thing ablaze. I don't intend to hype this thing up so intensely, but it feels so good when you're satisfied.

November 12, 2006 6:06 PM  
Anonymous understanding said...

When I first heard it I literally started smilin' and laughin' out loud sayin' 2 myself: "The God Emcees finally heard on a track 2gether!!!" I felt like a part of hip-hop history 4 real. I can't wait 4 the album cuz' I know NAS has a few surprises up his sleeves. Like GAME THEORY said we all wondered if the beat and the song itself would live up 2 the hype and in my opinion it did. Like FLETCH said this joint had an epic feel 2 it.

I'm also excited cuz' in an interview with Funk Flex on HOT 97 NAS said that he and HOV' are "STILL cookin'" meaning they are workin' on some more fire!!! Damn man.

Who said summertime was always the hottest time 4 good music? NAS and HOV' are gonna effectively make this one of the illest times 4 new music ... ever. It would be ill if NAS made this a single and they let HYPE WILLIAMS do the honors. Could u imagine? Actually FLETCH already did and brought a pretty ill concept lol!!!

November 12, 2006 7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Woa.....Can't get this song off my head. Thats the power of the two GOAT together. Nas and Jay are invincible. NY is back, can't wait till CDQ. This track is FIYAH! Thier lyrics and voice are just NASTY

November 13, 2006 8:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MUUUUCH props to the editor. can we get jays verse up?????????? that would be BIG

November 13, 2006 9:20 PM  
Blogger Fletch said...

"Couple of AI's / Dreaming of fly shit instead of them gray skies / Gray 5's . . . Turn illegal for commerce - to get his feet out of them Converse"

Yup. Nas is dope. And read into it even further on some Jordan / Iverson, Jay-Z / Nas comparison if you really want to.

November 14, 2006 3:37 AM  
Blogger max brallier said...

damn. wish i had seen this last night and not while i'm stuck at work. can't wait to get home and check it out. the jay lyrics would be much appreciated...sort of a special situation, no?

November 14, 2006 7:03 AM  
Anonymous Ill E said...

I agree with Max.

this beat is crazy, too."L.E.S. on another murda quest"...

November 14, 2006 7:33 AM  
Blogger Game Theory said...

Only if those horns could come harder...

November 14, 2006 1:20 PM  
Blogger Fletch said...

Still isn't a CDQ version yet, remember.

I feel like a Black Republican, money I got coming in
Can't turn my back on the hood, I got love for them
Cant clean my act up for good, too much thug in him
Probably end up the back of the hood, aww fuck it then

Huddling over the oven, we was like brothers then
Though you was nothing other than the son of my mother's friend
We had governing, who would have thought the love would end
Like ice, gold, album???, all good things
Never thought we'd sing the same song all hoods sing
Thought it was all woodgrain, all good brain
We wouldn't bicker like the other fools, talk good game
Never imagined all the disaster that one good reign
Could bring, should blame the game, and I could
It's kill or be killed, how could I refrain?
Forever be in debt, that's never a good thing
So the pressure for success can put a good strain
On the friend you call best, and yes, it could bring
Out the worse in every person, even the good ones sing???
Though we rehearsed it just ain't the same
When you push the game that ain't sixteen???
Then you mix things like cars, jewelry and miss thing
Jealousy, ego, and pride, and this brings
It all to a head, like a coin, cha-ching
The root of evil strikes again, this could sting
Now the team got beef between the post and the point
This puts the ring in jeopardy

November 14, 2006 1:39 PM  
Blogger 44 Sports said...

That concert was last October?! Damn it feels like it was just a few months ago

November 15, 2006 6:40 AM  
Anonymous max brallier said...

with a third back-and-forth verse this track could have been on the greats...

November 15, 2006 9:07 AM  
Blogger Fletch said...

I disagree. While I wouldn't turn down a third verse like that, I don't think it's needed at all.

Situation like this, there's always a chance of trying to do too much. You can make history more when you're not deadset on making history, y'know. This is a song that just needed finesse.

I'm actually glad they went with the non-obvious choice of LES for the beat, only one verse each, and not some 8 minute epic. It's not some futuristic shit, or some ol' grimey 94 shot. They played it cool, straightforward Hip-Hop.

November 15, 2006 10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this track, I wish it didnt leak until the album dropped though

November 17, 2006 1:36 PM  
Anonymous Mr T said...

I would have thought the security on this track would be alot more,quite surprised they let it leak so early. Would have been nice if no one heard it till the album dropped. On the track itself. I think its an amazing track. 2 great verses and a monumental beat from L.E.S. Why is it called Black Republican though? I really hope the album is dope. Im one of those not impressed with Hip Hop is Dead track, mainly due to its production. Beat just doesnt grab me.

November 26, 2006 7:44 AM  
Blogger Fletch said...

So you know how everyone, myself included, thought that the Black Republican sample was so appropriate and so genius because it used the music from that epic meeting in Godfather II, the meeting between Don Fanucci and Young Vito Corleone? Well, that piece was entitled "The Murder of Don Fanucci" and it seemed like everyone, myself included, was sold on the similarities between the horns there and on Black Republican. Well, uh, everyone, myself included, was wrong.

It actually takes from PT III not II, and the composition is entitled "Marcia Religiosa". However, the version appearing on the original movie soundtrack just features the melody played by organ and no horns around. This is because the version L.E.S. sampled is instead from an '01 performance by the City of Prague Philharmonic. So while "Don Fanucci" may sound similar, this is actually it, as confirmed by the naked ear and the liner notes of course.

As to how that changes my view on any potential video treatment, well, uh, it's still a good idea, I guess. lol

December 15, 2006 1:39 AM  
Anonymous Mr T said...

Is it just me or does BR sound even better in the album version? Atleast Nas' verse i think sounds even better with they way they slowed down the drums. I like it even more. It really should be the next single.

December 19, 2006 1:05 AM  
Blogger Fletch said...

Mr. T, I'm glad you're going back to these older topics. And absolutely, they did change up the production a little here. From the time I first heard BR courtesy of the MF'ING G*mez Brothers to when the clean version came out, I actually was somewhat disappointed about how it was mixed. Seemed to me to be missing some energy and that the horns were more pushed back than they should've been. Well, they fixed that, but then also accentuated Nas' verse by dropping the beat in and out a couple times, most notably at "I'm standing on the roof of my building." It makes an already great verse / song even better. I'm only mad they didn't let it fade out properly.

December 19, 2006 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Colin said...

Cot' Damn!

This track is really nice. Jay actually decided to bring his flwo back for this track. His flow had that bounce to it that Kingdom Come was missing, but Nas still has him in that category. Never thought I'd be saying Nas' flow outshined Jay on a track before this year. Apparently the most versatile flow in rap is making a niche for itself. RIP Iceberg Slim.

I love it.

December 19, 2006 7:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ive only heard the Gomez brothers edition (a disaster...) , the Big Mike version (better), and the CDQ version that leaked before the album (it was not edited). can somebody provide a link with the edited version? I did also notice how the drums are taken out in Escobar's verse, which wasnt how it was in the CDQ leaked version...

December 21, 2006 7:49 AM  

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