Google Play Music x Mass Appeal Present: The Story Behind the Lead Single “Hip Hop Is Dead”

When you first look at the cover of Nas’ Hip Hop Is Dead, you might be overcome with a sense of fear, as if you’re about to be buried along with hip hop. But for Nas, the positioning of everything on the cover is supposed to act as a call to action. Before he throws down the rose and some dirt, the Queensbridge legend is giving you an opportunity to help revive the culture.

Subconsciously, will.i.am took that choice to heart when he crafted the beat for the title track to the album. Without knowing that he had flipped a sample already used for a single — “Thief’s Theme” — on the previous Nas album Street’s Disciple, will.i.am acted as a hip hop Dr. Frankenstein. He breathed new life into the familiar sample and then threw in bits and pieces of Nas’ new vocals from studio sessions to end up with what we have today–a reminder to never let hip hop die on our watch.

A moment of silence before you revisit “Hip Hop Is Dead” on Google Play Music.

Check out the first video of the series about the inspiration on the album here.

Related Posts

Music
Music

Google Play Music x Mass Appeal Present: The Inspiration Behind ‘Hip Hop Is Dead’

Music
Music

Google Play Music x Mass Appeal Present: Hip Hop—Past, Present, and Future

Music
Music

Google Play Music x Mass Appeal Present: The Unexpected Choice of “Black Republican”

Music Video
Music Video

PREMIERE: You Can “Hate” Digital Nas Video Now

Music Video
Music Video

PREMIERE: Quan Wants You To Feel “This Fire”

Ad

Latest News

nas-rapture Film

PREPARE FOR ‘RAPTURE’

Mass Appeal’s new Netflix series premieres this weekend at SXSW
same Hot Takes

It Was a Type Beat Year

The search for something new in a year of sameness
shea serrano Features

Shea Serrano Quit His Teaching Job, Now He Has Two Best Sellers and Two TV Shows

"It is funny to just walk in and just be a Mexican, because I’m usually the only one there"
mf doom Features

The 10 Best DOOM Songs of 2017, Ranked

Even after 'The Missing Notebook Rhymes' went missing, the masked villain still caused havoc
worst cops Features

The Worst Cops of 2017

The hall of shame
donald trump Features

32 Songs That Dissed Donald Trump in 2017

The "F.D.T." wave
lil peep News

R.I.P. Gus, Long Live Lil Peep

Resisting nostalgia at the speed of the internet
88 rising Features

Sean Miyashiro of 88rising Connected the Cultures

With 1.25 million YouTube subscribers and a gang of talent, 88rising controlled the new East-West flow
eminem Video

Eminem By the Numbers

You may know how many f*cks he gives, but what about the other crucial figures from Slim Shady's career?
tape Features

Why 2017 Was Rap’s Year of the Tape

Seven labels explain why they're still rewinding cassettes back
safdie brothers Features

The Safdie Brothers Got Gritty as 2017’s Filmmakers to Watch

"You might not like the feeling that you're feeling, but you can still be entertained by that feeling."
best albums Features

The 25 Best Albums of 2017

The essential sounds that defined one very strange year
hey arnold Humor

Everything About Christmas is Awful, Except the ‘Hey Arnold!’ Special

The one redeeming thing about this trash holiday
combat-jack Features

Knowledge Darts Vol. 32: Winter Solstice

I never got to say thank you
jeezy Video

Open Space: Jeezy

"You can’t just crush a diamond with a rock. It’s hard, it’s tough. But it’s bright."
Video

Rhythm Roulette: Boi-1da

The wait is over