In 2006 Hip Hop was a very interesting place. While powerhouse names like Eminem, Jay-Z and Kanye West were still dominate, the mainstream is fully in the midst of a revolution led by the new music makers of the south. Lil Jon’s Crunk movement was turning out ultra energized club hit after hit. Atlanta’s Trap had invaded the scene as artists like T.I, Jeezy and Gucci Mane were just as well known in a city like New York as Jadakiss or Camron. And let’s not forget Ludacris and his DTP camp who would occupy multiple chart slots at a time. The Hip Hop landscape was changing and it was not going unnoticed by one of Hip Hop’s greats. In the view of Nasir Jones, he would tell you “Hip Hop is Dead.” I remember my personal excitement awaiting that release of this album. My Hip Hop taste is very NY for all the good, bad ad ugly of it. Nas’ attempt to being things back to the essence was a rallying cry for many even if it was short lived.
10 years since it’s scene shaking release Nas looks back on the Hip Hop Is Dead album that many rallied behind while even more rallied against. Unintended regional tensions resulted from Nas’ claim that the core elements of Hip Hop, music, wordplay, storytelling and lyricism had been given up for childish, hooks and low grade concepts. Linking up with Google Play and Mass Appeal, Nas delivers a 4 part digital documentary on the this controversial album.
“In retrospect, I missed the mark by miles,” he admits. “I didn’t want to pick people apart. I felt like that was for a younger artist to do. I thought the title was enough — to say it’s dead it was to say, ‘I don’t know where to begin, I don’t know where to start.’ But at least I’ll name it this and we’ll see what goes from there.”
Hit the jump to view the other 3 installments of the doc. Watch as Nas speaks on everything from the album title, his long anticipated collaboration with Jay-Z, to his current view of the culture and his present role in it.
We all do it. In barber shops, in the gym, in the car. Anywhere that a conversation be held, Hip Hop fans have discussed, compared and had to defend their Top 5 MCs. Does your personal Top 5 Hip Hop artists include staples like Jay-Z, Biggie, Tupac and Nas? Or do you assemble a list of those artists that hold a special place in your heart but might not make sense to others.
With his movie of the same name about to hit theaters nationwide, Chris Rock puts to together quite a powerhouse round table of NY media personalities to share their 5. Ed Lover, Angie Martinez, Miss Info, Shaheem Reid, Jayson Rodriguez, Datwon Thomas and Rock’s Top 5 co-star Rosario Dawson make up the all-star collective.
Check out the discussion as everyone shares their respective lists the reason these artists stand top to them courtesy of Revolt TV.
Nas Creates Scholarship Fund to Help Students Transition From College
It’s been a very busy and productive time for Nasir Jones on the academics side of things. While the Hip Hop community has been in full celebration mode for the 20th anniversary of Illmatic, Nas has been growing his relationship with Harvard and speaking at schools about his story and overall value of Hip Hop and story telling. Now we can add Scholarships to the collegiate good deeds on Nas’ rap sheet. As I or any of my peers can tell you that step from college into the “real world” can be a rough one and apparently Nas is looking to help ease that transition.
Nas has linked up with Koru, a company out of Seattle that specializes in post college assistance. Nas has invested an initial $100,000 into the scholarship and will be involved personally with coaching the first 10 students to receive the award. Regarding is involvement in this vital stage of adult development Nas had the following to say.
“I’m inspired to support Koru participants because I know how hard it can be to carve out your path and purpose in life. It takes conviction, hard work and the right network. The young people going through Koru are gritty, book smart and street smart. The Koru program gives them an opportunity to put those smarts to work. I can’t wait to work directly with them and share what I’ve learned through my own life experiences.”
The pairing of Nas and Koru was the result of a mutual friend of the legendary MC and Koru’s founder Kristen Hamilton.
“What companies are looking for,” Ms. Hamilton said, “is for people with the capacity to come up against a wall and think about what they’ll do when they get through it or around it rather than about how thick the wall is, or how challenging. This has been Nas’ reality. He didn’t go to college–he studied in the school of the real world, and became a successful artist and businessperson. He didn’t have his way paved for him. He embodies the notion of grit. So we started talking about how we could work together.”
It’s nice to get reminders that Hip Hop truly does have heart.
Nas and Michael Eric Dyson Hip Hop Conversation at Georgetown
Nas has always been a more low key hip hop artist on the business front but when you look to combining music and academics recently there has been no shortage of what Mr Jones is looking to bring to the people. In this 90 min video professor Michael Eric Dyson and Nasir Jones converse on the impact of Illmatic 20 yrs after it hit the scene as Nas’s debut effort. They also get into the current state of Hip Hop among many more topics.
“I don’t see enough MCs who are brave enough to be honest,” he said during a talk with Michael Eric Dyson, university professor at Georgetown. “There’s a lot of good stuff and a lot of bad in rap.”
“The socially conscious stuff can come off as preachy,” he explained. “ … some people stay away from that. It’s not their bag, but they still have some kind of artistic responsibility to do more than what’s the latest trend.”
The conversation is moderated by Lehigh University’s Professor James Peterson and hosted at the home of the Hoyas, Georgetown University. Get comfy and check it out.
Everything Really Is Bigger In Texas!!! SXSW Samurai Recap
24 hours of being back in NY and yes I’m glad to be home from my week long SXSW experience. Over the next few days you’ll be getting various types of SXSW related content on my various social media networks. The Interactive festival is that large and that full of business and innovation that I’ve spent most of today diving into it all. As I’ve sat here separating and prioritizing all this information I have to say that I have new appreciation for the South By South West experience. While it was not my first time there, it was the most business related agenda I’ve ever had while attending. Seeing it from that professional side of the spectrum allows for a whole different level of understanding. You don’t just enjoy it but you notice what differentiates one brand from another. You pick up on what works and what doesn’t.
SXSW has so much of a social/party element infused into it that it takes more concentration then you may think to get a true return on your investment. Yet while the drinks seemed limitless and the food options grow with every street you turn onto there truly was a ton of great business going on throughout downtown Austin. From the Start Up Crawl to the exhibition show to the various sessions and tutorials the information that you could take in was high. While I personally am I social media guy in terms of communications across these various sites, I also met a number of people who were in town to introduce new apps and potential new apps. The tech start up scene in Austin is serious but being around that much creative energy cant help but fuel your own drive to succeed. There are a few people I’ll be keeping my eye on to see if they can make their dreams materialize.
As SXSW has grown many lament the presence of so many larger mainstream corporations. I can see and understand that thinking yet unless you live and breathe SXSW or are that deep entrenched in the business I don’t see corporate presence as a bad thing. It’s growth and expansion. The truth is that regardless of if its SXSW, on YouTube or any other platform, indies and majors are all pushing for our attention. This is just the reality of our world. Yet I feel that talent and drive always gets it’s due in the end. That’s not even speaking of the personalities that came to address the people like Nas, Sean Combs and Nick Cannon. That type of engagement is priceless.
SXSW was an amazing time and a great way to celebrate a birthday while expanding my professional brand. I’m already making notes for next year. We’ll be doing things that much bigger in 2015. Thanks again to Collective Bias for the believing in me to spend me out to Austin, thanks to AIO Wireless keeping my connected via their ZTE tablet, Thanks to Ms Donnet Bruce for having me speak at her event and thanks to all of Nomadness for the support over the entire week.
Design group Ammunication takes a very in-depth look at Harvard University’s recently created Nasir Jones Fellowship. New York’s Nas, speak on his own role in the culture of Hip Hop. Directed specifically at the youth Nas touches on the need for a “slow down phase” that will balance if not counter act the “Fast Life” mantra that is running the current scene.
The idea of Hip Hop on the college level is something many may have never imagined happening not to mention in the halls of Harvard. But they welcomed it back in 2002 with the establishment of the Hip Hop Archive.
“Having welcomed artists including Ninth Wonder and scholars including Mark Anthony Neal, the Hiphop Archive and Research Institute is uncompromising in our commitment to build and support intellectually challenging and innovative scholarship that reflects the rigor and achievement of Hiphop performance,” said Marcyliena Morgan, Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University and founder and director of the Hiphop Archive and Research Institute. “With the introduction of the Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellowship, we will continue to be the leading resource for those interested in knowing, developing, building, maintaining, and representing Hiphop.”
I’ve always referred to Nas as the other side of the Hip Hop coin with Jay-Z. We have an endless list of business accomplishments that Jay-Z has reached and they desire the acclaim they have gotten but exact;y why doesn’t this type of news get even a fraction of the attention?