Nas on the Messaging Around ‘Hip Hop Is Dead’: “I Missed the Mark By Miles”

Jaelani Turner-Williams Jaelani Turner-Williams is a contributing news writer for Okayplayer with…
Photo Credit: Johnny Louis for Waffle & Yankee Fitted Fest via Getty Images

On a new episode of the Spotify podcast The Bridge: 50 Years of Hip Hop, Nas spoke about the intention behind his polarizing 2006 album, Hip Hop Is Dead.

In a recent of episode of the Spotify podcast The Bridge: 50 Years of Hip Hop, Nas revisited one of his most polarizing albums: Hip Hop Is Dead. Admitting that shots were fired on the 2006 album, Nas confirmed that it was largely directed at New York rappers.

“I didn’t think that certain people would think I’m talking about them. “Oh nah, I’m talking about mainly New York! Mainly New York. I’m talking to everybody, but I didn’t explain it thorough enough,” he shared with co-host Ms. Info and special guest Jeezy.

To counter Nas’ stance, Jeezy stated that he assumed that Hip Hop Is Dead was partially about him, as the rapper’s career was in its prime during the album’s release.

“When he did Hip Hop [Is] Dead, I thought he was talking about us,” Jeezy said. “I wanted to be the front guy and say what I said. At the time, you gotta think, I’m just getting on. I’m just seeing my first legitimate money. I’m just getting my shows going. And then you got The Don in New York saying ‘hip hop is dead’!”

If you don’t remember, during this era, Jeezy went on a lengthy radio rant about Nas and the album’s title. They would soon squash hard feelings, Nas and Jeezy have become collaborators in the years since, first teaming up on the 2008 track “My President Is Black” from Jeezy album The Recession.

With misinformation about the album’s intention, Nas admitted that he regrets not clarifying who Hip Hop Is Dead was targeting:

“In retrospect, I missed the mark by miles. I didn’t want to pick people apart. It felt like it was for a younger artist to do,” he said. 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 where it goes from there.’”

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