Thursday, December 28, 2006

In The End

While I had been following along other blogs for some time and trading mp3's back and forth online as well, starting this site was more of an impulse than anything. You also have to remember that earlier this year Nas seemed to be in the news every single day, so I wanted some way to catalog those stories but also cover his music, new and old, with the history and analysis I thought it deserved. Ten months and a hundred-plus posts later, I'd like to think I accomplished that much. And, as I have been saying since summer, with Nas' new album just released, now seems like a fitting time to close up shop.

Let me just give quick thanks to a couple general groups of people:

1.Guest writers: From John Book, who contributed the first guest piece, to Ill E, who was the brains behind two contributions, having guest writers made up for what I didn't know and took pressure off pending updates. Moreover, Nabs, in particular, was largely responsible for many of the breaking links I may have posted.

2.Other sites / blogs: Since RTA's inception, with gracious referrals from other blogs and message boards, the number of visitors here has been on a steady increase. I didn't start this with industry connections or anything, but it was able to grow thanks to word spreading as it so generously did.

3.Y'all people: I don't have the greatest track record when it comes to staying faithful to long-term projects. Often times, I lose interest real fast, especially online, where, with a couple simple keystrokes, virtually a whole world can be forgotten. Anyway, knowing I had an audience that kept coming back motivated me to keep this whole experiment afloat for as long as I have.

So, thanks.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Stocking Stuffers

As if an entire new album worth of material was not enough, in the time since Hip Hop Is Dead first leaked online and this blog took a little break till now, Nas has kept his name out there on a couple odds and ends. This includes a freestyle, two remixes, and one entirely new song. I've also included an interview Nas did with Flex on Hot 97 earlier this week. It's required listening if only to hear how Live at the Barbeque came to be.

98 FM Freestyle
According to a legendary story, Nas was once such a potent freestyler that after spitting for some time in the company of Biggie, Biggie just had to shrug and say, "there's no way I can follow that." Blunted by time though, in 2006, you'd hardly suspect that was ever true of Nas. As an example, during a recent visit to Detroit's 98 FM, the rapper quickly stumbled on a pre-written verse. Now, a dope freestyler hardly ever equals a dope overall rapper, but it would still be nice to see signs of what once had Big so shook. P.S. The "off the top" stipulation is the revisionist's definition of freestyle.

Look at these clowns that be coming at me / Pac showed 'em how it was done in Makavelli / Exactly . . . who wanna attack me? / When y'all done with the dumb ish, we could break bread / I show you young black brothers how to get ahead / You think I'm not Mr. Entrepreneur / But every time I step out a car, it's from a Bentley door / And that's been happening since '94 / And y'all don't see me talking crack and raw / I hang with gangstas, the kind you never seen before / Or on Lear jets with Webber, no discussions of rap / We talk about American lives that were lost in Iraq / Talk about American lives that were lost in the hood / Al Green ballads and how shit'd never be like it was / Pop bottles for my brothers in prison / Pop bottles for my girls who . . .

That's That Shit (Remix)
This remix of Snoop Dogg's hit song first popped up on LA radio at the beginning of December. A couple weeks later, a radio rip finally made it online, followed by an appearance on a Big Mike mixtape. Initially, I thought it was an official remix; however, given Nas' ad-libs and the lack of a definitive copy, I'm not so sure anymore. Regardless, it's a beat Nas handles with enough humor.

Nas Esco is a menace / My enemy death toll is limitless / Escrow, assets liquidated, we spendin' it / Got you giving these women fits / Got you in Fendi fits / Many gifts, exquisite, most expensive shit / 2009 gear, big rips, you're looking at my D&D collar / For your girl lipstick, ya nitwit / So now you on some wrist-slit / Nas not known for the gossip / You too good to be my side chick / We made the bed rock, then I figure-four leg lock / We did it all, from the shopping mall to the big yacht / With big rocks, see, your ex-man was weak / He ran when I pulled out my cellphone, he thought it was heat / She was torn between us two and things we used to do / But now I'm moved on, I found somebody new

"War" is an appropriate title for Nas' contribution to DJ Clue's Professional PT 3. It's not necessarily a song that finds the QB MC in full-on battle-mode, but he certainly attacks the beat strong enough. War also finds Nas revisiting his exaggerated comic book meets religion rhyme style, a nod to Nastier days. Finally, to those who would say this should have been on HHID, well, it's one verse and no hook. Be happy with Money Over Bullshit.

Squinted-eye gangsta / Live in a skyscraper / Platinum Patron-drinker / Stacking that grown paper / God pushed me out his nuts / The Devil swallowed me up / I burnt a hole in his guts / Fell down into a Louis Vitton truck / With stashboxes, and niggas in it saying blast Nas shit / Drove down harm's way puffing that Bombay / QB thug tattoo on my arm say / Names of my fam / So I'ma read you a scripture / And command-ments to get your richer / Bandanas, hammers, MAC's and nina's / With the mismatched Pumas like Shan in Queensbridge / All white shell toes, that's that Queens thing / Brightland, ice wine, call that weed sling / Know where g slang??? / And the bitches with bomb ass that slurp on me and my comrades / Got a new contract / Come on, black / Shit y'all just getting up on, I'm beyond that / No time for crumbs, I really don't see them / They just started living, just started having threesomes / Just started having girls who like them / That's why I got married 'cause my world ain't like them / So why they keep telling those stories? / Nigga, y'all square, nigga, this is my year

You (Remix)
Nas and Andre 3000 finally do a song together, and it's a remix to an R&B track by Lloyd? Oh, okay. As he has grown decidedly more frustrated with the state of Hip-Hop, Nas has name-checked Dre, Atlanta's own pessimist, more and more as well. Nas also has cited the Outkast rapper as one of the last vestiges of creativity in the game. With Dre rumored to be heading back to the studio for something other than singing, we can hope for more collaborations in the future, without Lloyd so much.

Nas be in the crib low / Strip pole in it / Cold Guinness / Bitter taste / Slim waist / I'm gon' hit it / We low key, baby / Like a baritone / Apple computer / E-Mail me to come scoop ya / Run through ya, undo your bra / Give me medulla, ahh / You cute as a movie star / In Sin City, Hennessy / My love slave / Loving this pimp and no rest have' / With none of 'em, I leave everyone one of 'em / You just say it - just leave it where it is / He ain't aware, let sleeping dogs lie / But keep a sharp eye on him 'cause I'm the wrong guy / To wanna put this 4-5 on him / Let's get it on, ma / You got my nose wide open / You already locked down and rocked down / But so delicious / If he get suspicious / Bring up his old mistress / I ain't dry snitching / But why should you be feeling bad / 'Cause I be killing that?

DJ Clue f/ Nas: War
Lloyd f/ Andre 3000 & Nas: You (remix)
Nas: FM 98 Freestyle
Nas: That's That Shit (remix)
BONUS: Nas: 12-19-06 Hot 97 interview

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Hope Remix Contest

The final song on Hip Hop Is Dead, Hope, features an acapella Nas. This seems to have been done in part to emphasize Nas' vocals and whatever statement he's making about the future of Hip-Hop; however, there's also the angle that this song will become its own marketing tool, as amateur producer after amateur producer provide their own beat backing to the track. In the short time that the album has been available, many of these remixes have already shown up, some good, some bad, some otherwise. This entry includes a collection of fourteen such remixes.

You can stream or download the fourteen on an invidual basis (links open in a new window). Also, since the premise of this whole thing was originally a "contest", I've added a voting function to the end of this post.

Thanks to everyone who submitted a remix.

  • Hope (Damn Da Man Remix)

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  • Hope (Deacon LF Remix)

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  • Hope (DJ Incise Remix)

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  • Hope (DJ Pups Remix)

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  • Hope (Duke Remix)

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  • Hope (G Dub Remix)

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  • Hope (Jee Eye Zee Remix)

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  • Hope (Kay Be Remix)

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  • Hope (Legit H Remix)

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  • Hope (Nabs Remix)

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  • Hope (SBK Remix)

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  • Hope (Sleeptime Remix)

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  • Hope (The ARE Remix)

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  • Hope (Zilla Rocca Remix)

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    VOTE: Which Hope remix do you think was the strongest?
    (opens in new window)

    Tuesday, December 19, 2006

    In Loving Memory

    The plastic is off, the disc is in the changer, the 19th is finally here.

    One of the unbeatable things about having the album physically in your possession is the CD booklet of course. On the artwork side, check the turntables and wax (candles) picture, the half-speaker / half-funeral home image, the chalked-out body surrounded by money rolls, and the black and white close-up of the TRC-931 aka "the ghetto blaster." As for the liner notes, you get a manageable font size, appropriate production credits, and a breakdown of most of what was sampled. And although it may be ironic and unsavory to some to circumnavigate the cultural rite of record store digging, here's a little collection I amassed of just what was sampled. Because, if Hip Hop is dead, then consider this the Big Chill, old friends reuniting over some classic songs. (Corresponding HHID track titles within rar package.)

    Bill Withers - Use Me
    Carmine Coppola - Marcia Religiosa
    Diana Ross - The Interim
    Eric B. & Rakim - I Ain't No Joke
    Herbie Hancock - Sly
    Incredible Bongo Band - Apache
    Incredible Bongo Band - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
    James Brown - Get Up, Get Into It And Get Involved
    Marvin Gaye - After The Dance
    Nat King Cole - Unforgettable
    Steve Miller Band - Take The Money & Run
    BONUS - Bob Marley - War
    BONUS - Minnie Ripperton - Rainy Day In Centreville

    Rebel To America: Hip Hop Is Dead Samples Collection

    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?
  • Money Over Bullshit

    Produced by L.E.S. & Wyldfyer.

    My niggas got scarred grills
    Skully hats and gats be fully's
    Brrrat, cars peel, the East Coast cartel
    Rats get their tails snapped and trapped
    The snitches in the streets and the snitches who rap
    Pure euphoria, a dose of death to all of ya
    Coroner choruses sung from The Bridge to Astoria
    Dreams of falling in the elevator, passing floors
    Suddenly stop, the doors open up to a brick wall
    I can smell the haters, wishful thinkers, bad luck prayers
    Picture your tarot cards and bodyguards getting sprayed up
    Sabotaging my makeup, my watches get laced up
    Even if they indicted Jacob
    Forensics, paramedics carry cowards off
    Defibrillator shot to your chest, try to cough
    They die and hit Hell from an iron
    I'm fly in YSL, I'm paid from this shit
    Got bitches high as hell, and they fucking like AIDS don't exist
    They get sent to your hotel, I'm made of this shit
    Put a barrel in a capo mouth
    Till his scalp come out
    You a kid, you don't live what you rap about
    King poetic, too many haters to count
    Too much paper to count

    Join me in war, many will live, many will mourn
    Money over bullshit, pistols over brawn
    Afraid not of none of you cowards but of my own strength
    Afraid not of none of you cowards but of my own strength

    Got seven candles lit, black wallpaper, black carpet
    Thinking about which nigga to target
    You kill a nigga today, he lives forever
    So I plotted out smarter, there'll be no martyrs
    Black TEC on the table, Mag .44
    Black negligee on my bitch, she's at the door
    Black fish eggs, nigga, that's the caviar
    You niggas fish-made, y'all niggas is fifth grade
    Niggas, it's fifty ways to die, said the general
    If I give ya the top five, you will not survive
    Rule 1, cocksucker, keep my name from your tongue
    Rule 2, thought ya knew don't fuck with God's Son
    Rule 3, see, matter fact, I just wait
    If y'all reach top five, then I'ma eat y'all alive
    Each one of you guys that claim Hip-Hop is still alive
    Like y'all ain't in agreement with Nas

    Join me in war, many will live, many will mourn
    Money over bullshit, pistols over brawn
    Afraid not of none of you cowards but of my own strength
    Afraid not of none of you cowards but of my own strength

    From crack pushers to Lac' pushers and ambushers
    And morticians to fortresses, case-dismisses
    Laced in riches, cake ridiculous
    From nickel and diming to tricking them diamonds
    Vegas, places in Switzerland
    From non-blasting to auto, I don't have to blast mine
    They blast mine, black nine, you flatline
    My cash climb, buy rare art
    Antique pieces, Mona Lisa's, own no leases
    Five-star restaurant eaters; don't forget who your peeps is
    'Sposed to dine with you, sip that good wine with you
    Only if they grind with you - or slang for ya
    Seen niggas live, laugh, party, and die in that very same corner
    Pretty girls glance at us, status unconceivable
    Private planes landed out in Teterboro, weed I twirl
    Once even gave me a phobia
    That I be in a spot trapped like Madame Zenobia's
    With this kid eyeing my Rolly, y'all

    Nas: Money Over Bullshit

    You Can't Kill Me

    Produced by L.E.S. & Alvin West.

    It was just cool like
    Smooth night with my jewels bright
    Goons left, goons right
    Coupe with blue lights
    Bad girls and black pearls
    Gave us cat calls
    Took 'em back to the crib to break they ass off
    In the loft, mixing hash and dro
    Honey spreaded that asshole
    Like a wide-mouth bass
    Sipping wine out the glass
    Teddy Pendergrass blast
    When the phone ring
    The house lights flash
    Turn down the sound
    Let's get down to business
    Shit about to go down with some foul niggas
    What the voice said, "what up bop?"
    Who want it, I put the guap up
    Get the boy popped
    He said, "son, stop
    It's dude you feeding who feeding
    Other dudes, but they really not eating"
    "Dog, why you calling me?
    This our food . . . you handle the mouths that it trickles down to
    Niggas want beef, I want some of that cow too
    But I'm in my princely robe, simply rich
    Don't bother me with silly shit, call Rico"
    He said, "it is Rico" . . . of all people
    Gave his moms furs, called up the mayor
    To get his crime pardoned, his son's godfather
    Said that nigga shot up my cars
    Last night he laid for me to come out my doors

    Niggas always on that bullshit
    To make a nigga wanna open up a full clip
    Niggas always on that bullshit
    Now your funeral, the preacher's at the pulpit

    High, fly, Cinderfella loafer glass
    Fold up cash, you ain't heard the soldier's half
    You speaking hogwash, silly shit, balderdash
    I got the lye sparked, Phillies lit, smoker's jacket on
    The son of a Capricorn, my dad's a don
    What you think that he spawned, a slacker? Nah
    Packed the nines, yo this nigga's asinine
    Smack ya mom, relaxed and calm, then mack ya mom
    In a casket, you'll get ya fashion on
    You'll be in a suit and tie, you'll die
    You'll make maggots turn to flies, fucking with Nas
    Remember anyone can get it at anytime
    Lames'll swear by your name when they lie
    Get hit with the lone star, ripped where ya bones are
    So tell me how yo' ass gon' run from a CZ-PO1?
    In the midst of real steel moves, you a loser
    Murk you, with your own shooters
    All you want is a name, pissed and insane
    My security system, my place by the fireplace, listen
    Then it going off, start spitting
    Niggas try to bring it where I live in
    Trusted you, knew where all of the cribs at
    So we waited with the SIGs . . . blat, blat, blat!

    Nas: You Can't Kill Me

    Carry On Tradition

    Produced by Scott Storch.

    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

    Not Going Back

    Produced by Stargate.

    My man Kool G Rap told me, son, do not look back
    Chill up in the mansion with a fat gluteus max, relax
    When people ask, school 'em with facts - tell 'em
    At this point in my life, I'm all about chilling
    Riding around in something sickening and dress fly
    It's a twist, homies of mine who just died, I gotta let it ride
    That's what I got the public thinking, my nigga
    Just because I ain't in the hood don't mean shit, my nigga
    I know who died before the body dropped
    I know the guns that were used, how much money the shooter got
    'Cause on a private yacht I'm still within earshot of it all
    The top ten list of the most grimiest guys of all-time is all
    We talk when we talk of New York, y'all
    Who to call and who to stay away from
    Whose mother's address to have just to play it safe, son
    Women they lust up so quick to give 'em up
    What cars and what trucks they drive and
    What towns they spend the most time in, where they grinding
    I found out most of them are cowards, they hiding
    Behind reputations, that's sour . . . I'm not going back

    First thing that happen when you make a little paper
    You think the Marriot is living in the skyscraper
    Till you come across some even more flyer paper
    Realize the five star telles are even greater
    Terrycloth robes, elegance, movie shit
    Heated up marble floors with jacuzzi's in it
    First class flights, diamonds in your cruxifixes
    All those things, you still ain't really doing shit kid
    Because in reality, I learnt my salary
    The way I flaunted it then would now embarass me
    It kinda make me wanna hate bling, it's a race thing
    How they sell blacks to bootleg shit, in fact
    Real millionaires spend sixty mill on paintings
    Whores charge niggas with rapings
    Because we come out doors of Maybach cars
    Watch us make bets on race tracks, smoking cigars
    So they count on the laws to take what's ours
    About 500k on the lawyer to beat the charge
    So you can't stop us from making a billion dollars
    Instead of going back, I'm buying the projects

    And of course y'all know what I'm not going back to
    Those no friends of mine . . . and I'm not going back to
    Ten carat gold, no shine . . . and I'm never going back to
    Sony if the don't have dough to resign . . . and I'm not going back to
    Y'all know that I'm not going back to . . . those liars who would
    Not going back to . . . not help you if they could
    Not going back to . . . coke on the stove in the hood
    Y'all know that I'm not going back . . .

    Nas f/ Kelis: Not Going Back

    Who Killed It?

    Produced by Salaam Remi & Will.I.Am.

    Look here, see
    Pretty Mike shanked Two-Face Al over some gal
    Somebody dead in the aisles
    Death by strangulation, microphone cord
    A dirty broad, guess they'll never Play It Again, Sam
    Damn, that was my jam
    Now she's on the lam
    She made it out with two-hundred grand, what a scam
    While these two compete on whose the star of the show
    Golden Legs there makes off with the dough
    I read the paper there with Joe the Butcher
    He says, one glance is all it took ya
    She's a real looker
    They say her old man's a bootlegger
    Transport in any weather
    And at this rate will never get her
    Fellas, think it's time I called it a night
    All this talk of this mystery dame's getting me tight
    Thought I saw her in my eyesight, right
    Hate to spoil a party, what you guys having, the same?
    Waiter, another round for the gang
    It's strange how I always felt out of place
    Joe the Butcher's my ace but in comes Freckle Face
    So I said, see ya later
    Before I hurt him and his two ugly thumb-breakers
    You met them in Louisiana wrestling gators
    An idiot can tell they're involved with the caper
    So I pulled the revolver out my waist up
    Between the patrol car and the gray truck
    Behind the street lamp was a silhouette
    White gloves and a real long cigarette
    Whatta ya know, all this time she's got me in the scope
    She spoke, says the devil got you guys by the throat
    Your conspiracy theories won't work without evidence
    That's the reason why Eric B. is not President

    Look here, see
    I Know You Got Soul, you're trying to hide it
    How'd you Kill A Man out in Cypress
    One-Eyed Charlie, he only hangs with the Criminal Minded
    Says you guys did it Doggystyle, is he lying?
    She says, Walk This Way, I'll tell you a Children's Story
    We hit the bodega, got a few forties
    We jumped in my ride, we drove, and she cried
    Twisted Off The Cap there and opened her mouth wide
    Swallowed It, whole bottle's half empty
    Drinks like a fish, now she's past tipsy
    The truth came out as we got to her Suave House
    Chopped 'N Screwed her mouth and sat me on the couch
    I said, it's getting late, come on, give it to me straight
    Who's your sponsor, lady? She says, Bill Gates
    Whatta ya born '77 or '78?
    She said, nah, it goes way to an earlier date
    Slave times, plains of slaves said rhymes
    But she fell in love with some fella named Clive
    Who? Clive Campbell from Sedgwick Ave
    The Bronx; now she shows me the cash
    I said, who's Clive? Don't play with me, skirt
    She said, Clive Campbell, he's Kool Herc

    Listen up, sweetheart
    Now we getting somewhere
    As she's talking, she starts vanishing in thin air
    But before she drops the money bag on the floor and died
    She said if you really love me, I'd come back alive

    Nas: Who Killed It?

    Still Dreaming

    Produced by Kanye West.

    How you a man waiting for the next man to get rich?
    Your plan is to stick out your hand real quick?
    So if he feed your family and he serve you shit
    Then he need that head you get, and he deserve your bitch
    Since you wishing cash fall from the sky all your life
    Dwelling on the past when you was alright
    When you was getting cash but wasn't too bright
    Now your luck down, you feel like busting them shells
    Nobody owe you, can't do nothing for self
    Want niggas to show you how to come up with green
    I schemed since I'm fourteen; what the fuck was your dream?
    Rent-A-Car's, little broads, saying you was seen
    With little niggas, little chain, you was doing your thing
    How high was I? You the thousandth guy
    That came around thinking we could see eye to eye
    We on a different ech-elon
    Coulda got bread together, now you get steaded on

    She had several cars
    She had credits cards, a castle
    Large master bathroom
    Getting a pedicure
    Bellini by the glass full
    Said she been meaning to ask who
    In need of cash rules
    Who could blast tools
    And I'm eating cashews
    Knew she was bad news
    But we mad cool
    Nothing sexual
    'Cause I knew her since high school
    Grew up with my dudes
    Like one of my crew
    She work for FOX News
    One of her mens that she lent her drop to
    Won't come back with it, so she want him clapped in it
    Says it's important that it looks like an accident
    She was snorting, and her eyes had bags in it
    She was recording, had a wire, asking shit
    Four days before I came by, she got bagged with bricks
    Crossed the line from her world of news casting
    To a world of entrapment, a good girl going backwards

    Nas f/ Kanye West & Chrisette Michele: Still Dreaming

    Blunt Ashes

    Produced by Chris Webber.

    The making of a mad band
    Intricate stories of DeVante Swing
    Ava Gardner, the crashing of James Dean
    Bobby Brown influenced by Rick James and ???
    Prince wanted Alexander O'Neal to be Morris Day or Jerome
    But Alex was putting coke in his nose, nigga whylin'
    Could be a myth but I swear that the source was close, Phyllis Hyman
    Killer herself, it was crazy
    Mommy was bad they say
    Donny Hathaway freefall from a balcony

    As the blunt ash falls into the ash tray
    I could see my whole life fly past me
    Did I keep it gangsta or keep it classy?
    And will the money and fame out last me?
    The blunt's ash falls down in the ash tray
    Will I see my whole life fly past me?
    I'm asking did I keep it gangsta or keep it classy?
    Did I . . . anything else you know, just wanna ask me?

    Sam trusted Womack with his main lady
    He tossing in the grave, like, "this is how you repay me?
    A Change Gonna Come, wish you didn't trust me so much"
    Marvin said no mountain's high enough, fly stuff
    David Ruffin was punching Tammy Terrell, gave her concussions
    While the Funk Brothers was laying down the percussion
    When Flo from the Surpremes died, Diana Ross cried
    Many people said that she was laughing inside

    As the blunt ash falls into the ash tray
    I could see my whole life fly past me
    Did I keep it gangsta or keep it classy?
    And will the money and fame out last me?
    The blunt's ash falls down in the ash tray
    Will I see my whole life fly past me?
    I'm asking did I keep it gangsta or keep it classy?
    Did I . . . anything else you know, just wanna ask me?

    John F. Kennedy's enemies dealt with treachery
    It interests me, Judy Campbell in Gucci sandals
    She's what a temptress be
    The death of Ennis Cosby, what a mystery
    Or the Chicagoan Harold Washington
    Someone is sabotaging them
    Watch out for the traps
    Larry Troutman killed his brother Roger Troutman
    Then he killed himself, that's the end of Zapp
    And I wouldn't change a thing, mistakes of the greats
    This is what came from their pain
    From their hurt we gain
    An unfair exchange

    Nas: Blunt Ashes

    Hold Down The Block

    Produced by Mark Batson.

    Feds feast on street dons
    Look at their teeth showing
    Salivating at the mouth, South to East Orange
    Keep pouring that liquor, but nigga don't sleep on it
    You'll be giving up your Jesus piece to your peeps to pawn it
    For legal fees in the penal dorm
    Screaming on the horn with 'bout thirty years on your conscience
    I'm watching brothers disappear, it's appalling
    Some dudes had just only a year of balling
    Counter-intelligence found a strange evidence
    Still we behind the wheel with heat on us, hanging with predicates
    Position we placed in caves in, so they got us caged in
    Ways spinning like Mike Bivens from New Edition aging
    I got families I'm feeding 'cause my mans is bleeding
    Every five seconds look in all directions
    I come through prepared; I give 'em a call
    I'm close, bring them guns downstairs

    It's beef week
    Monday, murder
    Two niggas dead, Tuesday
    Wednesday and Thursday is hearse-day
    Friday, somebody-gotta-die-day
    Saturday, put the gat away
    Chilling with your chick and a bag of haze
    Wondering how it's all gonna end and what type of way
    'Cause Sunday back to gunplay
    Mo' shit start over nothing
    And get finished quick 'cause the art of repercussion
    Yeah, I seen it, a g' going out indecent
    Taking a plea agreement, thinking he secret
    Escape the crime scene, now you live straight like 9:15
    Then one-time intervene
    My man ain't like me saying I don't care if I die
    But the SIG Sauer on me now I'm scared to die
    You thinking the one I send to clap you be a shorty
    But he old school, holding a .38, he in his forties

    Anytime brothers can't get jobs, then they rob
    A man rather die than live on his knees and starve
    Cops steady asking your man what happened
    First he tell then he stop, like he not really rattin'
    Guess he not really in that casket from a sawed-off
    Listen, peep game from the brain of an all-star
    The rain hurt niggas' bones who been shot
    Metal pins in their leg, they walk with a limp-hop
    The streets lie, so you better be cautious
    Your man'll fry you plus, everybody talking
    A vet, a general, don't step where I walked in
    Make your own path, be a legend in your skin
    Make your own cash, don't stress what I'm forcin'
    Don't expect more when you put in less work than all them
    Queensbridge projects has taught him, and that's for life
    You heard me right, I got the block

    Nas f/ Mark B. Mayfield: Hold Down The Block

    Let There Be Light

    Produced by Kanye West.

    Let there be light
    No gangbanging in New York tonight
    Just murals of Biggie Smalls bigger than life
    Turn up the kid's mic, because y'all ain't listening right
    What's all this talk that Nas got bought?
    I'd rather outline my body in white chalk
    Ain't nobody been where I been, they at a standstill
    This is all overseen by my man Will

    This ain't the glorified, just painting of street pictures
    There's no guidance or Bibles, just blunts and swishas
    Gillette's cut caine in the kitchen
    Now every rapper wanna claim he hang with Kenneth Supreme Griffith
    It's like the same difference, except when niggas get arraigned
    They don't want the same sentence, niggas get to snitching
    If I could reverse demises and turn falls to rises
    It bring back niggas who was livest
    Old hustlers, reminiscing on better days
    They home doing nothing, might as well be in the cage
    Hating on young brothers, one foot in the grave
    They used to love us till we found our own way through the maze
    New York set-trippin' and flaggin' got the West Coast laughing
    Now Esco's asking what happened
    My homegirl from Upper Manhattan
    She remembers the Quarters that's Latin
    A lot of rat-tat-tat-tatting

    The son of the audio cassette era, TEC-wearer
    Bullets and baguettes, Benz Bose speaker terror
    Demand I get mine till I'm dead, so I can drive something red
    Like that horse standing on its hind legs
    Since Arnold and Willis in their bunk beds
    I wanted bread like Wonder
    Not Ned the Wino, like the parents of Lionel
    Nas is the ghetto American Idol
    No matter what you do, you're never getting my title
    I cant sound smart 'cause y'all'll run away
    They say I ain't hungry no more, and I don't talk about yay'
    Like there's no other way for an ex-hustler
    Cake-getter, ex-wig splitter to touch ya - I beg to differ
    When you four years in the game, we can have a conversation
    Eight years in the game, I invite you on vacation
    Ten years in the game, after I've enjoyed my fame
    Only then I let you pick my brain

    Nas f/ Tre Williams: Let There Be Light

    Play On Playa

    Produced by Scott Storch.

    How much money's enough? Think maybe like the trillion figures
    Pray my daughter don't wil' like the Hilton sisters
    That'd kill me, yo, filthy rich
    My daughter pass it on to the next generation
    Throwing carnations at my tombstone
    In my new home, meet moms in my Yves St. Laurent suit on
    Then we do a dance like my man Luther jam
    But my verse came first
    I stole change out her purse now I wanna dig her up outta the earth
    Too morbid, learn forward toward a new paragraph
    Blue carats, D-Class, strictly that kush in that weed bag
    Tryna figure out what Berry Gordy had put in production
    Studio smoky now, hard like David Ruffin
    Hit a spliff through a séance, play on playa

    Ruby red grapefruit juice with Grey Goose, rubies in the Jesús piece
    Pimped out like Snoop be but an East Coast thing
    My girl stocking tied up in a knot, top of my bean head
    Billion dollar dream head, went from triple beams to digital
    Serving fiends, the minimal - sixty g's, no criminal no mo'
    Just mo' dough, mimosas pouring
    Oprah's earrings on fingers
    While your girl performs cunnilingus
    'Cause this big money aroma lingers
    Barber cleans his blade then he give me a fade, hot towel on the face
    Hot models who vomit after they eat so they can stay lightweight
    Swallowing my protein like an Ovaltine shake
    Come through like Mo Green from Godfather so clean
    Where I step, I Clorox it
    Keep twenty g's on both sides of the thighs - that's four pockets
    Eighty thousand, browse for the nicest price
    But we ain't into buying conflict ice
    That's the shit they stole from the Congo and other black soil
    True mack for you, nappy hair, just spinning
    Honey gave me a massage with the happy ending
    Finest females I just came on and sprayed her
    Gotta get your papes on, play on playa

    Nas f/ Snoop Dogg: Play on Playa


    Produced by Nas and L.E.S.

    Ghetto niggas strutting with nothing but dreams in Queens broke
    MAC-10's, you can smell the PCP smoke
    Mele Mel told it real in the music he wrote
    Those were the days I remember
    We used to be close, then I was nine, coldest winter I remember
    Was slipping in December, two feet of snow
    Yeah, that's the East Coast, that black ice
    Symbolized the rap life
    It was slick and smooth
    I understood I had to come from the hood
    Doing the Pee Wee Herman, the Smurf
    Before them phones chirped
    The block's drugs flowing, didn't have your own work
    You had to have somebody else's, a small chrome on your pelvis
    Starter Jacket, blue Georgetown or green Celtic
    Your girl's too expensive, she wants shellfish
    Red Lobster was poppin', standing on that line forever
    I wish somebody would step on my Bally leather's
    Now it's whatever . . . Hip-Hop's forever
    Kept my radio on 98 or BLS
    Had a pre-pubescent lyric gift but niggas never hear me spit
    My little brother tried to warn 'em, I was a tornado coming
    He knew from inside, like the eye of a storm and
    Told my pops about it; he gave us tickets to that Wild Style flick
    Double Trouble, retarded, we was the proudest
    I never had a summer job
    Sweeping leaves, socks to my knees
    Homemade shorts, cutoff Lee's
    I ain't work a day in my life
    Wiping away eraser of the paper man
    I'm just trying to say it right
    Big radio, tape slowing down
    Lower the lights go, battery dead
    I gotta freeze 'em till they ice cold
    In the freezer later, I'm staring at the speaker
    Sunk in them 808's deeper, cleaning my sneakers
    With the bristles of a toothbrush, soap and water
    I let the shoe strings soak in water

    Nas f/ Chrisette Michele: Hope

    Tuesday, December 05, 2006

    Across The Tracks

    Nas: Hip Hop Is Dead (2006)
    01.Money Over Bullshit (Prod. L.E.S. & Wyldfyer)
    02.You Can't Kill Me (Prod. L.E.S. & Alvin West)
    03.Carry the Tradition (Prod. Scott Storch)
    04.Where Are They Now (Prod. Nas & Salaam Remi)
    05.Hip Hop Is Dead (Feat. Will.I.Am) (Prod. Will.I.Am)
    06.Who Killed It? (Prod. Salaam Remi & Will.I.Am)
    07.Black Republican (Feat. Jay-Z) (Prod. L.E.S. & Wyldfyer)
    08.Not Going Back (Feat. Kelis) (Prod. StarGate)
    09.Still Dreaming (Feat. Kanye West) (Prod. Kanye West)
    10.Hold Down the Block (Prod. Mark Batson)
    11.Blunt Ashes (Prod. Chris Webber)
    12.Let There Be Light (Feat. Tre Williams) (Prod. Kanye West)
    13.Play on Playa (Feat. Snoop Dogg) (Prod. Scott Storch)
    14.Can't Forget About You (Feat. Chrisette Michele) (Prod. Will.I.Am)
    15.Hustlers (Feat. The Game & Marsha Ambrosius) (Prod. Dr. Dre)
    16.Hope (Feat. Chrisette Michele) (Acapella)

    This is according to ITUNES, where, if you pre-order the album, you can have access to the bonus track, "Shine On."

    To read early reports of some of these songs, many have been discussed in early press coverage. One in particular that was covered but is missing all of a sudden is White Man's Paper, produced by Afrykan and featuring Damian Marley. Take your guess as to why it got cut.

    Finally, so as to not leave you empty-handed, here is a very early Nas verse that I was passed along. It sounds like a first draft of Live at the Barbeque almost.

    Nas assassinates the pope with a scope
    I mutilate mics till my voice box is broke
    Try to battle me and gag for breath
    Words I speak is a step beyond death
    Nas: Nasty Nas verse

    Friday, December 01, 2006

    Can't Forget About You

    This is the second single and the four minutes which Def Jam seems to be betting a lot on. I wonder if Will.I.Am gets an extra check for pulling that off.

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

    There comes a day in your life
    When you wanna kick back
    Straw hat on the porch
    When you old perhaps
    Wanna gather your thoughts
    Have a cold one, brag
    To your grandkids on how life is golden
    So I'ma light a cigar in the corridor of the crib
    Pictures on the wall of all the things that I did
    All the money and fame, 8x10's of the whole Rat Pack inside of a big frame
    Colliding with big names that coulda made your career stop
    All that, and your man is still here, and I'm still hot
    Wow, I need a moment y'all, see I almost felt a tear drop

    When was the last time you heard a real anthem?
    Nas, the millionaire, the mansion
    When was the last time you heard your boy Nas rhyme?
    Never on schedule, but always on time

    Can't forget about the old school
    Bam, Caz, Mele Mel, Flash
    Rock Steady spinning on their back
    Can't forget when the first rap Grammy went to Jazzy
    Fresh Prince - Fat Boys broke up, rap hasn't been the same since
    So irregular, how it mess you up when Mr. T became a wrestler
    Can't forget about Jordan's retirement
    The shot Robert Horry hit to win the game in the finals, kid
    Some things are forever, some things are not
    It's the things we remember that gave the world shock
    They stay in a place in your mind so snug
    Like who the person was with whom you first made love

    When was the last time you heard a real anthem?
    Nas, the millionaire, the mansion
    When was the last time you heard your boy Nas rhyme?
    Never on schedule, but always on time

    Unforgettable, unsubmittable
    I go by "N" now, just one syllable
    It's the end 'cause the game's tired
    It's the same vibe Good Times had right after James died
    That's why the gangsta rhymers ain't inspired
    Heinous crimes help record sales more than creative lines
    And I don't wanna keep bringing up the greater times
    But I'm a dreamer, nostalgic with the state of mind
    The past the past, enough of it, aight then
    But nothing gives me chills like Douglas and Tyson
    Or Mike when his talk was live
    Or when he first did the moonwalk on Motown 25

    When was the last time you heard a real anthem?
    Nas, the millionaire, the mansion
    When was the last time you heard your boy Nas rhyme?
    Never on schedule, but always on time

    Nas f/ Chrisette Michele: Can't Forget About You
    BONUS: Nas: Can't Forget About You (instrumental)
    BONUS: Nat King Cole: Unforgettable