Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Séance Sessions

Hip Hop Is Dead comes out in stores this Tuesday, December 19th, and has been "available" online, from the depths of South Korea, for a couple weeks now. While I didn't want to jumpstart discussion for those RIAA-abiding, discipline-having folks, I have been itching to talk about the album for some while. That, plus the fact that the 19th is right around the corner, makes this as good as time as any.

I've attempted to give each song its own entry for especially concentrated discussion, but if you have any more general reactions to the album or feelings about subsequent controversy, marketing, critical response, etc., lay 'em down here. Also, just because five HHID songs leaked much earlier, don't let that dissuade you from any further or first-time comments.

  • Black Republican

  • Can't Forget About You

  • Hip Hop Is Dead

  • Hustlers

  • Where Are They Now?
  • 33 Comments:

    Blogger Fletch said...

    I've had this somewhat long-running theory about Nas' album work: he doesn't make very good albums. Looking at the studio LP's released post-IWW, each one, in my estimation, has had some fatal flaws, some less significant than others but there nonetheless. Each one has been sabotaged but a trail of unreleased tracks, the all-too-frequent didn't-have-to-be-there dud, and a general lack of focus. At the same time, I would still argue that Nas has one of the most important and prolific catalogs of any rapper ever. This is because, while he isn't very good at making albums, the collection of songs he's amassed over the years is second to none.

    I even think you could assemble all those lost tapes, scrap the duds, and tighten the track selection up and he would have in the region of six non-arguable 4-5 mic albums. On some projects you might have to get more creative than others, but it can be done. Because of this, I approached HHID perhaps a little differently than most. Each new track I downloaded, I froze in carbonite just in case it didn't make the final cut. Later, when Nas seemed adamant about sticking with this album title, I was preparing for a lack of cohesion to be an issue. Plus, sixteen songs, in the bloated era of rap music, means that you're almost automatically gonna skip at least a few. But again, I wasn't expecting Nas to deliver a flawless 5-mic classic. However, I was expecting him to put out enough quality material from which, with a bit of creativity, a reasonably high-quality remodeling job could take place. I think we got that.

    For a project such as this, I stick by a lineup of thirteen tracks. Usually this boils down to fifty minutes, which is the perfect length of long but not tiresome, quick but not rushed; and it also means you keep a tight package, heavy on the feeling of continuity, while still allowing room to throw in some artistic attempts. So I don't really judge my own satisfaction with a new Nas album on if he bats 100% or not, as much as I do by how many of those thirteen tracks does the album supply up front and how much mixing and matching will I have to do later. On HHID, I think I got twelve. You throw on the forgotten Where Y'All At, switch up the sequencing a little, and it's solid.

    Now, of course, this is how it looks only on my own copy, so we shouldn't ignore those other four or the project as is in stores. But how I've decided to make my own HHID also speaks to the problems I have with the retail edition in the first place.

    (my copy)
    01.Money Over Bullshit
    02.Where Y'All At
    03.Hustlers
    04.Carry On Tradition
    05.Where Are They Now
    06.Hip Hop Is Dead
    07.Who Killed It
    08.Black Republican
    09.Hold Down The Block
    10.Still Dreaming
    11.Can't Forget About You
    12.Let There Be Light
    13.Hope

    So I've gotten rid of 1)You Can't Kill Me, 2)Not Going Back, 3)Blunt Ashes, and 4)Play On Playa. And while I'll go into greater detail about each elsewhere in this blog, they do epitomize the major qualms I have with HHID: faulty production (1/3), substandard hooks (1/3), and a general lack of connection to the overall theme of the project (1/2/3/4). In remaking the album though, you can focus in more on its principal strengths, creativity and a high level of lyricism. Plus, overall, what I think that does is make the album more cohesive / more tight on the concept tip. Now, those aforementioned four are not as collectively bad as some of the previous low points on other Nas' albums, but I can certainly live without 'em. What's more, that I don't really have to be as creative as I may have been on say Street's Disciple or God's Son, points to the quality of HHID.

    HHID features the most consistent rhyme-for-rhyme performance Nas has given since at least Stillmatic, with the production, on the whole, being more adventurous and alive than in the past. And even when he isn't explicitly talking about the state of the game, whether through the unity shown on collabing with Jay, the street-wise sense of Hold Down The Block, or the daring of a track like Who Killed It, he has established a worthy standard for Hip-Hop in 2006. Proving that you can be nostalgic while continuing to push the music forward, most importantly, Nas has provided a modern day example where skills still matter.

    December 17, 2006 4:34 PM  
    Blogger dubs said...

    I completely agree that Nas has, by far in my opinion, the best catalog of any rapper. No rapper has 2 cds that can come close to Illmatic and It Was Written (his rhyme scheme and flow on those 2 cds could alone make that point), not even counting pretty flawless Lost Tapes and Stillmatic. I don't think people side with Nas in the debate for best rapper simply because he doesn't brag about being the best. I think that's why Jay-Z and Biggie are so esteemed--they consider themselves the leader and people need someone to tell them, firsthand, who's best. Nas at his worst is really boring, while those guys at their worst is atleast somewhat entertaining. But, when Nas is at his best, no one can touch him musically.

    December 17, 2006 5:18 PM  
    Anonymous SLEEPTIME said...

    I read a description of nas' voice as "smoky vocals" and that they make a decent verse sound exceptional. Add good, layered production and you got some hot ish (see his guest verses). When he adds confident, smooth rhymes, nas' music is great--easy on the ears, and deep, worthy of multiple listens. Thats what made Lost Tapes so great. That's what makes some of the songs on HHID great, heights he hasn't achieved in a while. However, the album lacks a cohesive direction, especially when you have some seemingly random style-switching that, when compared with the more than obvious theme for the 4-song group of "where are they now," "carry on trad.," "hip hop is dead," and "who killed it?"--the album feels imbalanced, overstuffed in this group, even tho each song is individually good.

    I like ur mix- much more concise. What program do u use to edit songs? I've never heard of that.

    good observations about the songs that were probably recorded back w/ sony.

    It's interesting that the new "War" on the new DJ Clue is probably a def jam recording ("new contract," "no time for crumbs," "this is my year"--and even has old days imagery "mismatch pumas like Shan"). It's a good verse over a decent beat too. shoulda been on the album.

    So, no word on those songs that were at the FADER preview and that "I am somebody"?

    since the vibe reminds me most of lost tapes. as an experiment, I made a mix for myself where I cut sum HHID songs and added sum lost tapes:
    1) my way
    2) u can't kill me
    3) u gotta love it
    4) hold down the block
    5) doo rags
    6) still dreaming
    7) blunt ashes
    8) purple
    9) can't forget about you
    10) nothing lasts forever
    11) let there be light
    12) carry on tradition
    13) black republican

    December 17, 2006 9:00 PM  
    Blogger stillaslave said...

    I had been waiting with damp pants for almost year from when Nas' next opus was supposed to have dropped, in its various incarnations from "Nasdaq dow jones" to "N-". I had been through the emotional ups and downs of the "million dollar Neptunes" beat, the move to 'Def'ection Jam, the concert shooting and his surprise appearance at Jay's concert. So realease date 19 dec left in two minds as to whether he took too long to release the album or Xmas had come early.

    I agree with Fletch above, Nas has the best catalogue of material of any Rap artist, period, but there is a dichotomy between the level of concepts on the tracks and the concepts/compilation of each album. The best example was streets disciple; some great tracks but filled with flot (
    "War", "ME and you" WTF?).

    I went into the record store to buy HHID, looked at the cover and back while walking on the way to the counter noticed and something odd. At first i rubbed my eye, then thought it was a typo or candid camera: w "where y'all at?" was not on the album! You can call me melodramatic but in shock/disbelief/disgust i disgarded the cd on a random shelf. WTF! 'They' have left out probably his greatest track in years. It would not be an overstatement to call this omission a travesty similar to some dude spraypainting the sistine chapel. Could someone with more knowledge outthere PLEASE explain? Resigning WYA to mixtape status, while having HHID ( which reuse's Theif's themes sample?) to not only album status but title track status. Sometimes Nas makes it hard for me to defend him when the 85%ers criticize him ( "where's the sales", "he lost the war with Jay" blah, blah, blah)

    With all this said, after my initial tantrum i will buy it soon. Even his worst material is at least 4mics, and its glad to see him back with some of the fire he lost in his middle years.

    December 18, 2006 5:19 AM  
    Anonymous LouisfromLondon said...

    yo fletch

    been reading your blog avidly since I found it a few months ago. First comment I've posted.

    I agree with most of what you've said here. Where you said 'HHID features the most consistent rhyme-for-rhyme performance Nas has given since at least Stillmatic', it made me think of a theory I've been nursing for a while.

    I haven't actually heard all of HHID yet (buyin it tomoro), so I can't justify this, but what do people think of seeing Nas' catalogue as a cycle:

    Illmatic/Stillmatic

    IWW/God's Son

    The double LP that was to be I am (I am/Nastradamus/Lost Tapes)/Streets Disciple double LP

    The comparison of Illmatic to Stillmatic is obvious. I pair God's Son with IWW because they represent a kind of equivalent shift from the 5-mic 'cycle starter' in each case, in terms of quality, consistency, and mood.

    Then the 'two' double LPs are again comparable on the same terms.

    The move to Def Jam seems as good a reason as any to jump Nas back to the beginning of the cycle.

    Maybe this is just my excitement for HHID talking to me. I'll decide if it stands up when I've digested the album, but what do people think?

    Anyway, another point:

    'I don't really have to be as creative as I may have been on say Street's Disciple'

    I would be very interested to see your breakdown of Street's Disciple on thematic terms (have you already done this?), because for me, while the album was let down by production especially, I've always thought that the thematic unity of that project is more or less perfect. Which songs, to you, don't fit?

    cheers, Louis

    December 18, 2006 6:07 AM  
    Anonymous Mr T said...

    I just picked up my copy as I just found out its already out in the UK.

    December 18, 2006 7:10 AM  
    Blogger stillaslave said...

    louisfromlondon, the albums in HMV today, so u can get it on the way home (if your at work).

    Streets disciple pretty much had a consistent theme but the arrangement was very suspect, and undermined what he was trying to get across. Some of the tracks were just rubbish; NAS doesn't need fillers, just make an ironclad 12 track classic, simple (for him , not for me) The track with Maxwell, which i almost blanked out from my memory, was a painful attempt at re-making 'you owe me'.

    It would be easier to pick the good stuff on the second disk than vice versa. I rarely ever ever play disk 2, which is a shame as it has the legendary "thief's theme" ("flashing iron on, anybody trying on, corner's i'm supplying on"). Disk 2 is full of soppy or weak stuff, "me&u, perfect bitch, remember the times etc", not really the work of a "half man, half amazin'", definitely going soft.

    One good thing though, my girlfriend liked D2 so i could blast it out without any wining "I don't like his hardcore stuff"

    peace

    December 18, 2006 7:38 AM  
    Blogger stillaslave said...

    I have to address an issue I feel some of you out there having been wanting to talk about but have been skirting around the issue for whatever reason....

    Maybe, the because its the great moment in HipHop history, overwhelmed by its significance, or its just not right to cause contention but,

    "Who is better on Black Republicans?" Discuss.

    (i'll give my view after you have put your thoughts in the ring)

    December 18, 2006 8:00 AM  
    Anonymous Louisfromlondon said...

    yo mr t and stillaslave - thanks for the heads up, I just went out to get it now, gonna get into it later on.

    Although I've had Black Republicans for a while now I aint really addressed that all important question you mention...
    Jay comes pretty hard tho thats all I can say right now...

    QB tru G is the only song I've allowed myself to really get sucked into cos I wanted to wait till I had the cd.

    As for Streets Disciple, I'm one of that albums (few, it seems) big fans. I'd like to discuss it in depth, not sure if this is the right section to do it in. I'm gonna wait and see if fletch has anything to say.

    The way I see it tho, a double LP is a different kind of artistic endeavour altogether from a regular album. I think Nas really provided on that score...

    peace

    December 18, 2006 9:26 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I like the album but it's not a classic.


    For me i put it above i am and nastradamus but below SD.

    I just want him to make an album without trying to preach to his fans.

    Where are they now must be the worst nas track ever.

    December 18, 2006 11:02 AM  
    Blogger Fletch said...

    sleeptime, I use Audacity, free and easy . . . As to the DJ Clue song, which I will post in a couple days, I don't think you can't have both War and Money Over Bullshit on the same album; and War, as it's only one verse, would almost certainly have to be the opener. With that in mind, I think they made the right decision of what going where. . . . And yeah, that FADER track is still unaccounted for, but I Am Somebody is actually a lost SD song.

    Where Y'All At is available through Best Buy as an exclusive bonus track (check their site for more detail). I don't know how that helps any of y'all overseas, but it is at least available somehow. . . . As to the title track-Thief's Theme situation, although I went into it in greater detail in the entry specifically related to that song, while the similarities can be overpowering to some, I think the use of live instruments, a greater "rock" feel, and the breaks and chants filtered in and out make it more than a just "cover."

    Louis, I devised my own kind of cycle interpretation before, but it went a little differently: 1)Illmatic / Stillmatic 2)I Am . . .Nastradamus / God's Son . . . Street's Disciple / 3)It Was Written / Hip-Hop Is Dead. 1)Nas' first step forward and his resurrection 2)Nas' most personal albums 3)Almost concept-like albums, playing Esco and playing an angry mourner. Although, I suspect part of the reasoning behind my pairings are that the album titles themselves are most closely related. . . . Brief Street's Disciple entry

    Anonymous, I don't know about you, but Where Are They Now grew on me incredibly from hearing the original radio rip to now. I wasn't really able to appreciate the produciton at first. Apparently, Salaam Remi got access to the original JB master tapes, so he was able to do a little more with the sample than had he just had the record in front of him. If you look at it more like an interlude, it might come off better.

    December 18, 2006 12:36 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I agree 100% that this is his best record since stillmatic with out a doubt. I think the lyrics are some of the best he has ever done. I think he sounds very comfortable with where he is right now. It doesn't sound like he is trying to convince you of his skills like on Stillmatic (why would you question whose better) and Godson (last real..). I think the detective song is terrible and should not be on the record no matter how creative it may appear to be. It is not catchy, and is the one song everyone I have talked to agrees on is terrible, corny, and just flat our does not really work or belong on the record. I think let their be light is the song he was referring to in an interview when Nas said "basically after my record comes out every rapper under the age of 28 needs to shut up for 8 months". I like the "can't kill me" it has the IWW feel to it. For me the only skip through tracks are "who killed it" and "not going back" everything else I enjoy, some more than others. I did not think the album was going to be as good as it is. As, as everyone has mentioned, Nas has trouble putting together albums, but has the best material out there of any rapper. I still get frustrated when I think of what he did with "I Am". If he had just put it out with the songs that were on Lost Tapes and the sample tape, he would have had three of the best albums in a row ever, there would have been no nastradamus, and things would have been very different for him. But, that is Nas, he breaks your heart, you defend him to all the naysayers, but in the end, you hear songs like "let there be light" and none of that really matters.
    I will end by saying that I think the www.pitchforkmediareview.com was right on when they said:
    "In the end, Hip Hop Is Dead is the album I'll give to people in 20 years when they ask who Nas was. More than Illmatic, it represents the real Nas-- not the ideal-- the MC with all the skill, all the rhymes, and all the insight who sabotaged himself with bad decisions. There aren't too many here, which is why I'll recommend it. Whether he will revive hip-hop or not is for history to decide; I'm not sure it needs reviving. The need for Nas to play a vital role in whatever happens, though, is something I am sure of, so I'm glad he's back with the living."

    Well said.

    Sean

    December 18, 2006 12:48 PM  
    Anonymous Marshall said...

    I've been waiting for hhid to drop for two weeks, especially after it leaked. It hasn't left my car cd player since i got it. I always think of his line from mastermind when i listen to it, : "Play it cool, that's the old school rule, man
    Keep your ears to the street, y'all never lose man
    Make your enemies believe there's love there
    Cause in war, belief is all fair."

    I'm probably giving nas too much credit, but it seems like he heard kingdom come and pushed his album back. Let jay get his shine and hype and then put out an album that blows it out the water.
    I personally think that Who killed it is a weaker song that not going back because of execution. The concept and lyrics are cool, but that fake humphrey bogart voice makes me skip the song sometimes.
    Blunt ashes to me is similar to who killed it as well, but from another angle. And play on playa is a good song, it just doesn't fit the album.
    I like the track list as it was released because it allows nas to get his hip hop is dead mantra off his chest and he does it well. But then from black republicans on, just a collection of tight nas songs.

    December 18, 2006 3:39 PM  
    Blogger Game Theory said...

    I said this in a later post, but the number 1 problem I see with HHID is that is the production is not cohesive. The jumping between producers gives it more of a mixtape feel as opposed to a complete album. Again, Nas hits us with the 'nostalgic war hero' type feel. Over the last few albums, Nas has dedicated the projects to specific events in his life(Stillmatic-made his come back, God's Son-mother dying, Street's Disciple-getting married, HHID-self evident), and we have yet to get a straight Nas album since Nastradamus. This is partly the reason why I wasn't excited when I heard he was naming this album 'Hip Hop is Dead'. I was also among the dissapointed, when I figured out he actually wasn't going to work with DJ Premier(typical, right?). I'm curious to see what direction he'll go on the next album. Maybe a Lost Tapes 2 will soothe me in the mean time.

    December 18, 2006 5:17 PM  
    Anonymous Colin said...

    I haven't heard the album yet (waiting until tommorow) but I like what I'm hearing from everyone here and elsewhere. Obviously I don't have much to contribute as it stands, especially since the only track off the album I've heard is "Hip-Hop Is Dead".

    Although, since Fletch was talking about making his own mix of HHID I thought I'd post a few Nas album mixes I've put together myself.

    Street's Disciple 2.0 - http://img223.imageshack.us/img223/5104/nasstreetsdisciplems0.jpg
    Removed some tracks, added a couple from the cutting room floor, and re-ordered it.

    I Am Nastradamus - http://img348.imageshack.us/img348/9625/nasiamnastradamusoj5.jpg
    Just as it sounds, combining the two albums generally viewed as his worst (although I Am... is unfairly grouped with Nastradamus when it's actually a pretty damn good album.)

    I'll be back tommorow with thoughts on the album.

    December 18, 2006 8:49 PM  
    Anonymous Colin said...

    Directed at game theory's comment on Nas' next album.

    There's been word that Nas' next album will be called Nasir of Nazareth. I have no idea on the veracity of this, nor if it will actually happen.

    This is an article about it, and here's an apparent promo shot for it: http://img165.imageshack.us/img165/8774/nasirnazarathpromofull0an9.jpg

    Nas says his “next joint" will be a religious experience like nothing you've ever heard. These are bold words coming from the man whose forthcoming album, "Hip-Hop is Dead… The N", has managed to stir controversy a month before its release date.
    In an unusual press release sent only to select outlets, Nas announced the coming of this next, “next” LP”: "Nasir of Nazarath" (the press release also came with the included promotional image). Although the album is in its embryonic stage, it is set to feature only Nas, both on vocals and production. In addition it will have no singles and only one video.

    The album's concept is loosely based on the 1988 Martin Scorsese movie "The Last Temptation of Christ." The film depicts a fictional characterization of Jesus Chirst who experiences the temptations of man and the devil before giving himself to God.

    Nas explained,
    "It's the biography: complete and unabridged. What really went down from 1973 to 2007. No Escobar, no kilos or gunplay or all that rah rah. It’s everything I went through. Everything I almost did. It’s got a lot of truth. Industry heads aren't gonna like it. I'm tellin secrets on this one."

    The release also mentioned a music video that "picks up where Hate Me Now left off", a song called "Illmatic" and a "story inside the cover".

    Whether or not the album remains true to its intended form remains to be seen. In hip-hop's current climate of radio friendly songs and media savvy marketing an independent concept album with no hits may not equate to Nas' usual sales. But then again Nas isn't the usual rap artist. The true temptation will be whether or not he allows this project to reach fruition or if he scraps it in favor of something more commercial.

    December 18, 2006 8:53 PM  
    Blogger Fletch said...

    Actually, Colin that last bit you put up comes from "Stu - Top Dude", the guy most (in)famously behind the Neptunes 2 Million Dollar beat rumor. So yeah, it's fan fiction. . . . And I don't wanna jump ahead to the next album just yet, but Large Professor told people at a HHID listening session that he was "on the next one" (whether that means something is in the works already or not, I don't know). Also, Nas, on Hot 97 tonight, still seemed to be a bit unhappy with Columbia's involvement with this record. Told Angie Martinez he was hoping the next move was 100% Def Jam.

    And then Lost Tapes II Spring 2007.

    December 18, 2006 9:29 PM  
    Blogger stillaslave said...

    I managed to get over my dissapointment over them leaving out "where y'all at" and bought the album last night (i was never good at holding grudges)> i was so excited at opening his new opus that i cracked the CD case.

    CD in the changer, turn up the wattage, and then... an LES beat to match almost anything NAS has spat on previously; and did he spit on the track

    "My niggas got scarred grills
    Skully hat and gat's but fully
    Brrraapp..."
    Ridiculous, if Tony the Tiger liked rap he would call this GRRRRRIMY. My room was filled ith the smell of burning vinyl.All my anxiety and dissapointment stopped there and set the tone for the album.

    A Rap classic, a Nas great. Lyrically in his top two albums, and has really stepped his game up. Nazareth Savage has really 'carried the cross' for rap on this one. The subject matter is pretty much consistent on this one. Even the Kanye and Game tracks are good, but we could lose the detective tune and Snoops 'play on playa', 'where are they now?' ( Nas, hello! most of these old guys were wack.) 'Money over Business', 'carry on tradition', BR, 'hold down the block'are shithot.


    I have finally realised how good Nas is. This is a 4mic disk, best album of the past 2 years and its still behind, Ill/Stillmatic, I Am, and Lost tapes (if u include that).

    With all that said and done, shock horror I AM TAKIGN THE CD BACK!! I have some clean version!! No 'extended clips or AKs' in this disk, and about 5 seconds out of 'carry on tradition' WTF?!? I thought he went to hell for snuffing Jesus. so much for a the land of the free. Now ive got to scuffle around on the WWW for the unabriged version

    December 19, 2006 2:17 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Stillaslave...I have the clean version of the song HHID, and about 5 seconds of Nas vocals are cut out of Carry On Tradition...Manufacturer Error, I hope so, Im gonna try to trade it in for another one...HHID aint the same without "murder the DJ"--Esco

    December 19, 2006 5:15 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I gotta disagee with your first post Fletch. Songs like Play on Playa, Blunt Ashes, and all of the rest of the tracks are what signify this album!

    This album satisfies just about every mood you'd want to have. That is why this is sucha special album. All in all, that's what I think Nas wanted to do with this album. This is what Hip Hop used to be about!!! Emotion people....

    This is 4.9 mics. Third best album from Nasty. Illmatic, IWW, and HHID.

    This album is CRAZY!

    December 19, 2006 7:51 AM  
    Blogger Game Theory said...

    Still slave and anonymous, the missing spot on 'Carry on Tradition' and the inclusion of the clean version of 'HHID(title track' are on every version of the disc. It is not a manufacturer errror.

    December 19, 2006 3:36 PM  
    Anonymous tray said...

    It's... okay. I bought it of course, I've had it since it leaked, but I think the only truly great song on here is Black Republican, and possibly the intro and Still Dreaming - though I prefer Kanye's verse on that song to either of Nas's, by far. Who Killed It is as bad as everyone says, and there are a lot of snoozy beats.

    December 19, 2006 7:50 PM  
    Anonymous Colin said...

    Damn, threw in this in the car as soon as I bought it. "Money Over Bullshit" sounds absolutely fantastic in a real system. Good God...

    December 19, 2006 8:07 PM  
    Blogger Renato Pagnani said...

    Alright Nas, you've had your fun.

    Get in the studio and get with Large Professor, Premier and Pete Rock and force them to give you your best material and just give us that album. I don't care if it's even good anymore—I'm beginning to realize I'm never going to truly be shocked by a Nas album unless he does that entire album with Premo (or with help from LP, Pete, and those cats). Why? It's risky. The label politricks and such would almost certainly prevent it from ever being 100% Nas and Premier.

    But that's what the fans want, and what I think has the best (only?) potential to surprise me anymore. I think I have an article idea along these lines churning in the mental. Hmmm.

    Keep doing your thing, Fletch.

    December 19, 2006 11:11 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I would prefer Nas to go Independant if he has to so we can get that all produced Preme album. and HHID being the clean version on the album, i think its a marketing scheme to get you to buy the single, IDK thats just me.

    December 20, 2006 5:53 AM  
    Anonymous Mr T said...

    Any word on what the next single will be? I know most are saying its "Cant forget about you" ( dope track btw) but there has been nothing to confirm this over any other track.Im hoping Black Republican.

    December 20, 2006 6:09 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hands down, the next single should be "let there be light", no question. That is the One Mic/Love of the record.

    December 20, 2006 6:55 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    i dont like how they edited HHID ....why?

    and I also noticed that blank spot on Carry on Tradition. does anybody know what Esco was saying when the blank spot came in?

    for the next single, I have a feeling they are going to do a split video (play one song for about a minute, at the end of the song), I think they could probably put the snoop song at the end of the main video (I think that song was meant to be a single, especially with the Storch beat)

    colin, could you up a link for "good morning"? i never got a chance to hear that track. thanks

    December 20, 2006 10:30 AM  
    Blogger Fletch said...

    Mr. T, Nas and Def Jam both confirmed Can't Forget About You as the next single. If you've watched the TV ads for the album, this much would be clear too. I think radio gets it in a couple days. And not that google searches for lyrics are any indication of hit status, but from what I've seen running this site, it'll do well. Especially seasonal and all too.

    Anonymous, the all-DJ Premier album was not sabotaged by Def Jam, as much as it was Nas and Premier not being able to coordinate their schedules. Remember, just when they had begun to work something earlier this summer, Primo had to break for an Asian tour of sorts. So I don't think going independent promises any changes in the status of that project. Nas seems very content with Def Jam anyway. And they seem to be doing their job, at least in terms of publicity, quite well.

    Finally, Good Morning will be uploaded in a special reup post in a week or so. Please wait till then.

    December 20, 2006 12:12 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Arent all artist happy about their label when they first sign? who knows if down the line Nas becomes frustrated with it. anyways, I dont think Nas would go independant but if label politics ever get in the way, that would not be a bad decision. Personally I think Nas/Premo LP would be his bestseller after IWW (if not better). Not that Im waiting for his retirement but that would be a nice "last" album from Esco.

    BTW. Got HHID Tuesday @ midnite, (I was at the store since 11:30 pm) I am pleased with it, best album since IWW no doubt.--Esco

    December 20, 2006 1:14 PM  
    Anonymous Mr T said...

    Fletch, While I really like "Cant forget about you". I cant deny I personally dont think its a good choice to be the next single. Its a great song, infact i would describe it as great music ( along with Let there be light, Hold down the block, Still Dreaming) But i just dont think it'll capture the audience as great "hip hop". I probably havent explained myself well but Im hoping you'll know what I mean.

    December 21, 2006 3:08 AM  
    Blogger Aegis865 said...

    'The N' was on my copy, I assume thats the same bonus track on the European/UK version.Shame I was looking forward to 'Shine On'.

    I've got to say its a big disapointment.There are three out and out bangers on it-"Money Over Bull****","Carry On Tradition" and "Black Republicans".Hold Down The Block" is quite impressive lyrically as well.

    Every other track is either plighted by Nas sounding completely disinterested or Nas himself getting outdone by those around him.Tracks 4-6 have already been cut from my iPod, as have "Hope","Play on Poppa" and "The N..."."The N..." is ruined by one of the worst hooks ever to grace a Nas track and the rest are either dull and/or poorly executed."Still Dreamin" is forgetable and lacks energy;Nas is completely upstaged by Tre Williams and Kanye's beat on 'Let There Be Light';he does nothing lyrically with the well produced 'Blunt Ashes','Hustlers' and 'Can't Forget About You'.

    3 mic album.Lyrically, where you expect Nas to excel, the likes of Boots Riley, Lupe Fiasco and Black Thought have outdone him this year.For the most part he lacks that hunger we saw on [I]Stillmatic[/I] for example.The high points are great but too few.His worst album after SD and Nostradamus imo.

    Anbswers on a postcard how that tame weak version of HHID was the lead single as well.

    December 22, 2006 5:34 PM  
    Blogger Fletch said...

    http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003525355

    Nas Scores Third No. 1 Album With 'Hip-Hop Is Dead'

    December 27, 2006, 6:00 PM ET

    Nas scores his third No. 1 on The Billboard 200 this week with his eighth studio set, "Hip Hop Is Dead." The Def Jam effort moved 355,000 copies last week in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The rapper's last effort, "Street's Disciple," peaked at No. 5 on the chart. Nas' two other sets to take the summit were 1999's "I Am... The Autobiography" and 1996's "It Was Written."

    Following closely behind, the soundtrack to Disney's "Hannah Montana" climbs 3-2 in its ninth week on the chart with 349,000, a 28% sales boost. The Sony BMG Strategic Marketing Group/EMI/Universal/Zomba hits compilation "NOW 23" also moves up, 4-3, with 313,000 (+33%).

    Carrie Underwood's "Some Hearts" (Arista/Arista Nashville) ascends 6-4 in its 58th week on the chart, moving 292,000 with a 47% surge. Sliding up 8-5, the Beatles' "Love" (Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol) shifted 282,000, a sales increase of 58%.

    Bow Wow's "The Price of Fame" (Columbia) enters the chart at No. 6 with 262,000. It is the rapper's third-best charting week, as his 2003 effort "Unleashed" and 2005's "Wanted" both debuted at No. 3.

    Josh Groban's "Awake" (143/Reprise) is down 5-7 despite a 15% increase to 255,000 while Daughtry's self-titled RCA debut falls 7-8 despite a 38% boost at 250,000.


    Justin Timberlake's Jive album "FutureSex/LoveSounds" re-enters the top tier, rocketing 22-9 with a 98% sales increase to 230,000. Akon's "Konvicted" zooms 16-10 on a 60% increase to 227,000.

    During the week leading up to Christmas, few other new titles were released. Among the top debuts are RBD's "Rebels" (EMI Televisa), which opened at No. 40 with 94,000, and Trick Daddy's "Back by Thug Demand" (Slip-N-Slide/Atlantic), which bowed at No. 48 on sales of 87,000.

    Overall, album sales are up 34% from last week's count and are down 6% compared to the same week a year ago at 31.24 million units. Sales for 2006 are down 4.7% compared to 2005 at 574 million units.

    December 28, 2006 3:17 PM  

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