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We interrupt our usual programming to bring you this special Election Day bulletin: Vote. But don’t take my word for it, a lot of our favorite artists want you to as well:

Jay-Z:

Nas:

6th Sense:

(You can download an mp3 of this one here.)

Redman:

You may have noticed there’s a political bent to these. I’ll let them speak for themselves. You can vote for whomever, as long as you vote. Seriously, stop reading this right now, get in your car or bike or bus or whatever and go vote.

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I understand it’s completely blasphemous to suggest that Illmatic isn’t Nas’s best album. But that’s not really my argument anyway–I’m not going to contest that The Lost Tapes is better than Illmatic, because it may well not be. Illmatic is definitely one of the most influential albums in the history of hip hop, and probably the most masterfully constructed.

But I still find myself listening to The Lost Tapes five times for every time I listen to Illmatic. Mostly because where Illmatic is carefully and thoughtfully constructed, The Lost Tapes is personal and emotional. It’s almost as well thought-out, but it feels less filtered and more authentic. It’s so much easier for me to connect to autobiographical, emoting The Lost Tapes Nas than it is to connect to Illmatic Nas.

I mean, look at these lyrics from “Doo Rags:”

The styles come from prison, they used potatoes making liquor
Just to prove we some creative n****s
Turning nothing into something, is God’s work
And you get nothing without struggle and hard work

Honestly, that may be the single most beautiful hip hop lyric I’ve ever heard. I think it’s fair to say that most people see the idea of prisoners making alcohol out of potatoes as either depressing or immoral; at best people might see it as neutral.

Nas succinctly points out an incredible positivity in it that I never would have seen otherwise. That’s beautiful. That’s art. That’s God’s work.

Plus, I have to appreciate it when a song (“Nothing Lasts Forever”) starts with a brief monologue like this:

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Michael Eric Dyson is editing a book of essays on Illmatic. If there’s one thing I love more than Illmatic, it’s good academic analysis of hip hop, which does not really exist in too many places. This should be interesting. Also, it kind of steps on the toes of what I was starting to think about doing for my senior thesis, but whatevs.

It’s pretty easy for me to come up with at least one reason a day that Bill O’Reilly sucks, thanks to Keith Olberman, but when someone, like, say, Nah Right gives me a reason, I really pounce. Here he is making fun of Nas for “peddling the ‘N’ word to children.” I won’t bother to refute his arguments because they are self-evidently dumb.

But you know what I really hate? The way that conservatives have turned the whole “N word” thing around on black people. As if Bill O’Reilly is the sanctimonious protector of race rights and Nas hates black people because he uses the “N word.” Because Fox News isn’t racist. Anyway, here’s a little comedic gem of Bill O waxing poetic about Nas’ inability to sell records and all the ways in which this is promotion for his album. I’m sure it doesn’t hurt, Bill, but why are you so upset? Is it because he uses the “N word?” Or because he eviscerates you on that album?

[redlasso id=”aa0463fd-94c2-444f-93ad-3f538102d74d”]

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Every other music website in the world has the most boring news ever today (trust me, I went to all of them), and HipHopDX manages to pull up four really interesting stories, mostly about Nas.

Nas, in conjunction with ColorofChange.org and MoveOn.org, submitted a petition to Fox News today to stop “patterns of racist attacks against black Americans.” The quotes from the article seem pretty incriminating (sure, they’re out of context, but I can’t really think of a context where saying the phrase “lynching party” in relation to a black woman would be appropriate). The other reason I can get behind this is that I can’t stand Fox News, particularly Bill O’Reilly. I still can’t understand why that guy still has a job.

Also, could we soon see a Nas album (or even two) other than Illmatic with good production? It sounds like an oxymoron, but who knows?

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…if this weren’t such a dumb review. Seriously? Illmatic “very nearly lived up to the hype?” What world is this guy living in? Illmatic had virtually no hype and took a while to build up to any kind of commercial reception. Nonetheless, it is widely acknowledged as, at the very least, one of the top hip hop albums ever, and I would contend that it is the best hip hop album ever. Also, that Nas used the album title to try “to renew interest in his career?” Yeah, because Nas is a pretty marginal figure in hip hop these days. I guess when you release something provocative it puts the white folks on edge [full disclosure: I’m white].

Fortunately, he gets eviscerated in the comments section, which brings a smile to my face. I like this one a lot: “You working for fif huh?” He must be.

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In the dizzying two and a half years of innumerable mixtapes and feature verses that led up to the release of Tha Carter III, there was such an inflation of expectations that it seemed unlikely that Lil’ Wayne could release anything that would live up to them. Interestingly enough, Wayne’s release had almost the opposite result one would expect from such an intensely hyped release. Rather than be disappointed by the album for not being perfect, fans started to promote this admittedly good album as Wayne’s classic, despite its inconsistencies.

Unfortunately for Lil’ Wayne, his bid to release a classic has been upstaged barely a month later by a release from the pantheon of artists he is trying to join. Nas, of course, has been approaching Wayne’s challenging task of creating a classic from the opposite direction, having tried, fruitlessly, to live up to Illmatic and having the onus of recreating it on him ever since its release. It is safe to say that Nas will never make another Illmatic, but he has just dropped the hip hop album of 2008 that most deserves to be called a classic.
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In case you wanted the whole thing, here’s the new Nas album. Although I’m guessing that will be up for about a minute. That’s okay, though, because at least you can buy it at Wal-Mart since it doesn’t have a title. But maybe he wants you have it:

Probly, huh? So fucking exciting. We already like some of what we’ve heard. More thoughts forthcoming.

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Nas — Queens Get the Money

I’m pretty sure Kyle linked to this yesterday, but most of those zShare links got taken down, unfortunately. I like this track a lot though. Really cool production, and Nas brings fire as well.

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That\'s Stupid

Cop that shit.

Also, lots of new Nas tracks.

So much from two of my favorite artists – I haven’t even listened to it all yet.

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