On his latest effort, Hip-Hop Is Dead, Nas performs an autopsy on rap's corpse, and the results are ugly: Toothless rap pioneers-turned-crackheads and one-hit wonders who have no sense of history populate hip-hop's wasteland. By contemplating the demise of an art form that he fell in love with as a youngster growing up in the Queensbridge projects, Nas has produced a tome worthy of his classic debut, Illmatic. Continuing the creative resurgence that began in 2001, after Jay-Z knocked him out of complacency with the ultimate dis record, The Takeover, Nasir Jones has evolved into one of the game's elder statesmen, a gatekeeper for a genre he feels has sold its soul. (Recently, the two NYC rivals squashed their beefs by performing "Dead Presidents" on stage together, and Nas now records for the Jay-Z-helmed Def Jam.) Nas's recent dissertation, full of vivid images and ideas, shows why the self-proclaimed "God's Son" deserves the honorary title of hip-hop poet laureate.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Denver, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.