By Xavier Rios
The year was 2006. Emcee supreme and New York native Nas single handedly launches an attack on Hip-hop music with the release of his latest single, “Hip-hop is dead.” The single is the first release off his eighth studio album, which shares the same title.
In a culture where ego trumps all, it was just a matter of time before another rapper took offense to Nas’ new project. However, this seemed to have been the savvy NY rap veteran’s plan all along--spark fire into those individuals that were truly purist and enthusiasts of Hip-hop music.
And spark a fire he did, from the date that the single was released up until now, the song has been widely referenced. He challenged the fact that rap’s commercialization diluted the art form. He paid homage to the history of Hip-hop, while at the same time inspiring change for the better.
Today, a new crop of emcees has emerged, slews of rappers who deliver carefully manicured raps and share the passion for the craft just as Nas does. A young, hungry generation that soaked up all they witnessed since Nas’ proclamation.
The baton has been passed.
Wale and J Cole, two promising young rappers, have risen as the top emcees of this new class. With their latest albums currently topping ‘must hear lists’ it comes as no surprise to think Nas played a hand in the revolution of the art.
Hip-hop is not dead and is very alive and kicking.
Xavier Rios is a senior at St. Thomas Aquinas College. He is a Communication Arts major. Mr. Rios hopes to be a successful writer and filmmaker.