Grammy-winning rapper Nas, who once declared that hip-hop was dead, recently spoke on the new wave of artists who are helping to keep the genre evolving.
Despite dropping an album titled Hip Hop Is Dead in 2006, the New York-bred emcee said rap music still exists.
“It died several times, but I do believe in the heartbeat of it right now,” Nas said in an interview. “There are a lot of new artists, and artists that have been around, who are kicking a** right now. I just wanted to give a boost to people and to myself, to push people to go harder. It’s a different world now.” (Wall Street Journal)
Soulja Boy Tell Em previously questioned Nas’ claims of hip-hop being dead.
“Real talk, the n*gga that killed hip-hop was Nas,” Soulja Boy said in a 2008 video. “He came out publicly and said, ‘Hip-Hop is dead,’ and then after that everybody started saying hip-hop is dead. ‘Cause think about it, if Nas would have never said hip-hop is dead, then motherf*ckers would have never thought anything about it…He probably wasn’t feeling how the music was going,” Soulja Boy added. “He came out and killed everybody’s money. He killed his own career with that sh*t. He shoulda thought about that sh*t though.” (YouTube)
Chicago rapper Rhymefest recently said the essential elements of hip-hop have diminished.
“One thing I didn’t realize is that Hip-Hop doesn’t exist anymore,” he declared in an interview. “C’mon, think about the 4 elements: graffiti, breaking, deejaying, and emceeing. Emcees don’t exist. That’s somebody who gets on the stage, doesn’t have to rap, but can hype up the crowd while the DJ is playing. He has all the chants, all that sh*t. Everybody now is “listen to me, listen to my raps.” No one can hype up a crowd no more like that. Emcees are dead…So Hip-Hop as we knew is like jazz at this point. I can’t really get mad. It exists on a scale so small you might as well call it dead. But even from Disco we got techno, Bass music. From Hip-Hop we got Soulja Boy, Drake; the hybrid singing rap. We got to call it something else because it ain’t Hip-Hop. It’s not bad; it’s evolved into something else.” (All Hip Hop)
Nas’ controversial Hip Hop Is Dead album was released in late 2006.
Hip Hop Is Dead is the eighth studio album by American rapper Nas, released December 15, 2006 on Def Jam Recordings. His first album for the label, it was co-financed by Nas’ previous label, Columbia Records, which once distributed for Def Jam. The album’s title was inspired by Nas’ view of the music industry and the state of hip hop music at the time. (Wikipedia)
Check out a recent Nas interview below: