Tag Archives: Nas

I REMEMBER

Maybe this is in bad taste for a Father’s Day post, especially since my own father deserves nothing but the highest praise for the work he’s put in (and continues to put in) for me and my sister, but I just had a real deep conversation with a dude about his dad who did some truly unspeakable shit to him and other members of his family, and I was recently moved by this Tim Smooth song where he eviscerates his own father for his multitudinous failings and I thought to myself “Maybe everybody who’s father was a piece of shit deserves a song on Father’s Day too!”

Unfortunately, Tim Smooth is not well represented on YouTube (or anywhere else for that matter) and I guess I’m not allowed to upload mp3s on WordPress (?) so the only stream I could find of “I Remember” is some sketchy MP3Clan link that might be broken by the time I post this but if you need this song in your life (you’ll know if you do), then seek it out because it makes “Papa Was A Rolling Stone (which “I Remember” appropriately references in its opening bars) sound downright merciful.

Tim Smooth & Too Cool – I Remember

As I said before, my own pops doesn’t deserve a single line from that Tim Smooth track so I gotta put something up to honor him and all the other dads out there doing their job right.  This way people with shitty and great dads will all have a song they can relate and vibe to on Father’s Day.  This might not be the best song in honor of paternity in rap (I already covered that one last month), but as a blues devotee, singer, and mean-ass harp player, my pops would probably appreciate this one the most.  Love you, Dad.

Nas – Bridging the Gap (feat. Olu Dara)

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WE DON’T LIKE YOU

Not that you shouldn’t just watch the whole thing, but to me this was the most memorable moment from Ice T’s “Something from Nothing – The Art of Rap“.

Nas – Response to: “Why Do You Think Rap Isn’t Respected?”

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GUEST POST: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SINGLE WORD IN A RAP SONG EVER?

this guest post written by Matt Hall (@mattisonherenow)

First of all, I’d like to tip my hat to my good friend Rick/DJ REDLite for not only starting this blog (which is consistently every bit as real and honest as it is entertaining), but also believing that my silly-ass thoughts are worth consideration. My late night nonsensical emails to Rick about songs I’ve been thinking about have long predated this blog. I guess I’ve sent him so many YouTube links and asked him so many absurd questions that he had no choice but to ask me to write another late night note for all of you to read.

One of the most recent emails I sent him was to ask the question, “What is your favorite single word in any rap song ever?” I feel like this is a topic that is pretty solid for my first post here.

I can honestly remember the first time I ever heard “Verbal Intercourse” from Raekwon the Chef’s first solo record Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. I think it was the first Wu-Tang album I heard after Enter the 36 Chambers. Nas’s verse was the first time anyone from outside the Wu-Tang camp had rapped on one of their tracks, and in that era (almost 20 years ago!) that really meant something. Raekwon talks a little bit about recording that verse and his choice of bringing in Nas to feature on the track here.

Nas has the first verse, and he opens up with some of the best lines of his career, in my opinion, and when he gets the line

“Smoke a gold leaf I hold heat nonchalantly”

the way he delivers the word: “nonchalantly”; gets me every time. It’s got more syllables than anything else in the verse, and the way he says it, totally cool and unconcerned, is the very definition of the word itself. To me it is the gold standard in flow.

Raekwon – Verbal Intercourse (feat. Nas & Ghostface Killah)

I really love everything about the song though, Raekwon and Ghostface have excellent verses as well, and the RZA’s production was at its all-time peak in this era. The way he loops the, “but WHAT,” from The Emotions song “If You Think It You May As Well Do It,” is brilliant.

Interestingly enough, Nas didn’t write that verse specifically for the Raekwon track. It actually first showed up on a song called “Déjà Vu” on a demo recorded for his second album It Was Written.  Some rap fans at the time felt like that album was kind of a let down after the undisputed classic that is Illmatic, but I think it’s aged well. I’m not sure why “Déjà Vu” got left off. There’s
speculation that the label wanted Nas to go in a more radio-friendly direction, and that song definitely has a grittier feel. Either way, it’s a classic verse, and it features my favorite single word in any rap song ever.

Nas – Déjà Vu

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LET THE BEAT BUILD #4 – NAS

I guess the cat’s out of the bag as far as my excessive, undying love for The RZA and the whole Wu-Tang Clan after that last post, so it should come as no surprise that I jumped at the opportunity to see them live a few years back when their tour came through this part of the country.  I still had to go all the way to Chicago to see ’em, but man was it worth it.  It was definitely one of the most star-struck moments I’ve had in my life, seeing all those dudes just a few feet away from me after listening to them and seeing in them in videos for years.  I even got to touch Method Man when he crowd-surfed after performing his self-titled single from Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)!  Fuckin’ unreal.

But it wasn’t just those dudes that I got star struck by that day.  That same day I got to see Talib Kweli, Jean Grae, Slum Village, and, last but absolutely not least, Nasir Jones, aka Nas.  He was the only one at the show to perform without a DJ, which I thought was a little weird, but I got over that real quick because he really did an amazing job performing all the songs he did.  I’ll particularly never forget this one, because the live context only intensified the crazy build this beat goes through.  I still kinda can’t believe I got to witness this.

Nas – One Mic

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MESSAGE FROM A BLACK MAN

This is one of those little details that I’ve thought about figuring out for a long time but never quite did, but now that I have this blog going, I’m a little more motivated to get to the bottom of things.  See there’s this sample that I’ve heard in tons of songs that is just one of those super simple, easily recognizable samples but it’s just so sweet that hearing it over and over in different songs doesn’t really get old to me.  I knew it was from this song called “Message From a Black Man”, but I didn’t know which version because the version I always had didn’t sound quite right.  So today I decided to do some research, and it turns out the song was originally written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for the Temptations in 1969.  But when I listened to that version, it didn’t sound like the right version either.  A little more searching uncovered the version I’d been searching for.

The Whatnauts – Message from a Black Man

If you don’t already recognize this, check out what King Geedorah, RZA, and Nas do with this track.

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THE SAGA CONTINUES…

Over the past few days, I discovered a whole slew of pretty awesome new Mary J. Blige songs with features from Beyonce, Rick Ross, Busta Rhymes, and (most importantly for this post) Nas.  I did a big time double take when the beat for this one kicked in.

Mary J. Blige – Feel Inside (feat. Nas)

Because I’ve listened to this song…… maybe like a jillion times?

Wu-Tang Clan – Triumph

Man that video rules.  I haven’t been able to track down an original sample for that song, which makes me think that maybe RZA just recorded that shit using synths and stuff and whoever produced that Mary J./Nas track just sampled that for their beat.  Could be wrong though, feel free to school me if you’ve got the knowledge I don’t.  Keep a look out for that new Mary J. Blige album too, I think it comes out in just a couple days and it sounds pretty tight to me so far.

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YEAH, YEAH, YEAH. SADE IS AWESOME. SHE’S SO COOL. HAVE YOU MET HER?

I really like it when a magazine or something sets up an interview, but instead of sending out an interviewer, they just get some other person involved in the stuff the person being interviewed is to interview them.  Did that make sense?

Example: I just read this interview where Tyler, the Creator interviews Nas for XXL, and it’s really awesome.  I feel like I learn way more about the people in interviews like that, they just kinda get comfortable with each other and talk about normal shit and it gives a much more intimate picture of who that person really is.  I guess the formal kind of interview is good too for like factual shit, like telling complete stories and stuff.  But for getting a little portrait of the person just as a person, I think this format is perfect.

I mean when else are you gonna hear Tyler, the Creator say some shit like this:

Being low-key is awesome…

That doesn’t come out when they’re bein put on the spot by some journalist to defend their whole ideology and aesthetic, you know?  I love it.

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I WANT YOU. AND YOU WANT ME.

Oh man, the best thing happened today.  Lemme back up though.  A couple months back I was re-shelving some records I’d pulled out to play a show, and I noticed one of em seemed a little on the light and skinny side, so I looked in and sure enough, the sleeve was straight up empty.  No idea where the record went.  And to make matters worse, it’s a really cool record – Marvin Gaye’s I Want You, which is an album I’ve really fallen in love with lately.  Bummer.  I figured I must have haphazardly stuck it in some other sleeve in the heat of the moment, but I had no way of knowing which one, so I just left it up to the fates to bring it back to me.

And today, it happened.  I was practicing for this experimental music show I’m helpin out with this Friday, and I pulled out what should have been a record of synthesized bell sounds (sorry I still got your record, Robbie.  I’ll get it back to you soon buddy) and instead I pulled out… Marvin Gaye.  Beautiful.

So in celebration, here’s a really awesome song from that album, plus a real cool song that samples that song as a bonus.  I don’t think this quite qualifies as a Rap Journey, only 2 stops, more of a… Soul Errand?  Nah that’s dumb.  No name for this one.  Just listen and CELEBRATE cuz now I can play this record for you all again when you come see me!  Thanks, universe!

Marvin Gaye – After the Dance

Nas – Play On, Playa (feat. Snoop Dogg)

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