Nas’ Hip-Hop Is Dead will be remembered for several things. It was his debut on the iconic Def Jam label, it contained the historic collaboration with long-time foil Jay-Z & it got Hip-Hop artists from all corners debating the health of Hip-Hop as an art form. On a lesser scale, it’ll be remembered for it’s peculiar closing with the A Cappella song “Hope.”
Given Nas’ less than stellar production choices, many assumed that Nas wanted the power of his words to be heard without the distraction of a backdrop. It could even be argued that Nas was so high listening to the playback of the verse, that he thought he was rapping over a beat. But lo and behold, the sample couldn’t be cleared for the Friends Of Distinction’s cover of The Beatles “And I Love Her.”
No clue why it wasn’t cleared, but boy does it enhance the song. It adds to the melancholy nature of his lyrics and makes for a more fitting closing to the album.
Download — Nas – “Hope” (Original)
Perhaps it was a timing issue, because Def Jam managed to get the sample cleared for Rick Ross’ “Maybach Music.” Not like there’s much competition, but this was always my favorite song by Bawse Rawse. The backdrop exuded a sense of understated sophistication, that regardless of what you were riding in, for just short of four minutes you were in a Maybach.
After hearing Nas’ use of the sample, this almost sounds over-produced now. Still a good song, although its the audio equivalent of new money. It seemed like Ross was trying too hard to show off his new-found wealth. I can’t blame him though. Lord knows I wouldn’t mind being in that predicament.
Download — Rick Ross Feat. Jay-Z – “Maybach Music”