Sunday, December 17, 2006

Carry On Tradition

Produced by Scott Storch.

[NAS]
Some rap pioneers be them crackheads
When they speak, you see missing teeth
Silver chain with a silver piece
Niggas your grandfather's age
They pants still hanging down they legs talking about they ain't paid
And they hate you, 'cause they say, you ain't pay dues
And (Sylvia Robinson) was stealin' and robbin' them
I feel it's a problem we gotta resolve
Hip-Hop been dead, we the reason it died
Wasn't Sylvia's fault or because MC's skills are lost
It's because we can't see ourselves as the boss
Deep-rooted through slavery, self-hatred
The Jewish stick together, friends in high places
We on some low level shit
We don't want niggas to ever win
See, everybody got a label
Everybody's a rapper but few flow fatal
It's fucked up, it all started from two turntables

When they crown you
And you rise up to your position
Carry on tradition
When they knight you
And you go to fight, go to war
Don't petition, carry on tradition
Carry on tradition

Now some of these new rappers got their caps flipped backwards
With their fingers intertwined in some gang-sign madness
I got an exam, let's see if y'all pass it
Let's see who can quote a Daddy Kane line the fastest
Some of you new rappers, I don't understand your code
You have your man shoot you, like in that Sopranos episode
Do anything to get in the game, mixtapes, you spit hate
Against bosses; hungry fucks are moraless
You should be tossed in a pit full of unfortunate vocalists
Niggas, I coulda wrote your shit; I had off-time, was bored with this
I coulda made my double-LP just by sampling different parts of Nautilus
Still came five on the charts with zero audience
The lane was open and y'all was dropping that garbage shit
Y'all got awards for your bricks - it got good to ya
You started telling them bigger dogs to call it quits?!

When they crown you
And you rise up to your position
Carry on tradition
When they knight you
And you go to fight, go to war
Don't petition, carry on tradition
Carry on tradition

Now niggas got the studio poppin', it's mad clearer
Engineers got us earplugs and still hear us
The live-in-the-park sound versus the studio state of art sound
We on the charts now; from British Walkers and Argyles
Look at us rap stars now, with our black cards now
Fortune 500 listed, brunch at Cipriani's
Sipping, blunted, with rich white guys around me
Thick white girls around me, Chinese lined up
Because I'm what every dime lust
We used to be a ghetto secret; can't make my mind up
If I want that or the whole world to peep it
Now carry on tradition
Fuck a wack bum rapper making his career out of dissing
Peace to the struggling artists and dead one's gone, we miss 'em
I promise I carry on tradition

When they crown you
And you rise up to your position
Carry on tradition
When they knight you
And you go to fight, go to war
Don't petition, carry on tradition
Carry on tradition

Nas: Carry On Tradition

11 Comments:

Blogger Fletch said...

Carry on Tradition is the first song of the album that explicitly ties into the "Hip Hop Is Dead" concept at work. And, if you've been paying attention to all the press Nas has been doing as of late, from old school vets getting sour over new school money to the all-too-common crabs in the barrel mentality amongst rappers, this is essentially every interview Nas has given in the past few months boiled down to a succinct couple minutes.

In the second verse, which I think is the standout, Nas brings up modern era fans being out of touch with the likes of Big Daddy Kane, for instance. Keying off this line, Kelefa Sanneh, in his review for the New York Times, brought up that this sounds like what you would expect from one of Nas' more "pedantic fans." In fact, a lot of the criticism of this album, from listeners, rappers, and paid critic alike has been that Nas shows himself as a Grumpy Old Man-type MC, so nostalgic as to be narrow-minded, so humorless as to be grating. However, in Nas' point, particularly reflected by the BDK comment, seems to follow what he told Tim Westwood some time back, "it's a discredit to [the listener] by not trying to figure out who these [old school rappers] are, because how are you gonna know where you're going if you don't know where they went? And how do you respect this if you don't respect them?" So, yes, Nas has a very specific idea of what Hip-Hop was to him growing up and then as a young artist, and that's a idea that's become increasingly unfamiliar over the years. And it's not that you have to have Set It Off tattooed on your forearm or anything to be "real Hip-Hop", but to forget that past, to ignore those contributions, to completely throw out the blueprints these legends established, is equally as narrow-minded.

As to the beat, with its keyboard-produced strings, it's a little more sterile sounding than Scott Storch's later contribution; however, the lineup of cymbal crashes provides enough energy to not wear Nas down. As to the mysterious edit in the first verse, especially with the possible rhyme of "dues" and prevailing stereotypes being what they are, leading speculation has Nas saying something about Jews. Funny for a Scott Storch track if true.

December 17, 2006 4:36 PM  
Blogger dubs said...

This song isn't spectacular, but I liked it and thought it was necessary for Nas to straight up call out whack ass rappers; he might do it on the other songs, but I haven't listened to them.

December 17, 2006 5:01 PM  
Anonymous KingWise7 said...

This is one of my favorites. I love the chorus where he uses his voice to like scratch Carry on Tradition. Nas just does such a good job of putting on wax everything that he's feeling. Its like his interviews being blessed out through lyrics.

Nigas I could have wrote your shit!

December 18, 2006 8:08 AM  
Anonymous qb said...

What´s up with the weird silence after "they aint payed dues" messes
the whole track up imho

December 18, 2006 8:34 AM  
Anonymous LouisfromLondon said...

great song in my opinion. Its that righteous Nas when he just lays it down plain and simple, no room for arguments.

nice 'walking contradiction' 3rd verse: 'We used to be a ghetto secret / can't make my mind up if I want that or the whole world to peep it'.

great chorus.

I like the way the the next track has the 'Set It Off' sample straight after the BDK reference in this one.

December 18, 2006 3:59 PM  
Blogger Game Theory said...

2nd verse is dope. The beat is good, but its not exceptional. A better way to phrase it is, 'not with Scott Storch money'.

December 18, 2006 4:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Shit one of The best Joints! Carry On Tradition..He Takes An Og Stance And Breaks Down..3 Diffrent insightful scenario's
The Beat Is Good The Flow Is Perfect...1st Verse He Talks About The Old School Rappers Hating On New MC's..emphasises the negetivity between those within The Industry never wanna see each other prosper...
" Stand Out Line :
Everybody's a rapper but few flow fatal
It's fucked up, it all started from two turntableses"

December 18, 2006 7:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i liked this song but thought it shouldve been an unreleased track... he had one too many nostalgic songs on this album i think one of them shoulve went and white mans paper shouldve taken its spot

December 18, 2006 9:34 PM  
Anonymous max brallier said...

this song is tight. most of the complaints about this album revolve around nas sounding like a grumpy old man. that's fine by me. i totally feel it on this track. it's perfectly located on the CD...right where it should be...if only it had gone straight from money over bullshit into this...

the edited line: i'm guessing it was "complaining that the jews"

great lines:

"everybody's a rapper..."

"fuck a bum wack rapper"

December 19, 2006 10:21 AM  
Anonymous Tray said...

Awful beat. But it could be a great song if someone remixed it well.

December 19, 2006 7:54 PM  
Blogger Fletch said...

I've come to the pretty strong conclusion that the edited line is "Sylvia Robinson was stealin' and robbin' them."

1.Check the history of Rapper's Delight and Sugarhill Records--Sylvia wasn't considered the most charitable business person.

2.It would explain why Nas refers to her by just a first name later.

3.You got the rhyme with "stealing and robbing them" set up perfectly.

December 23, 2006 12:21 PM  

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