Hip Hop Is Dead (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
"Hip Hop Is Dead"
Single by Nas featuring will.i.am
from the album Hip Hop Is Dead
ReleasedNovember 5, 2006 (U.S.)
January 29, 2007 (UK)
Nas singles chronology
"Blindfold Me"
"Hip Hop Is Dead"
"Can't Forget About You"
will.i.am singles chronology
"Hip Hop Is Dead"
"A Dream"

"Hip Hop Is Dead" is the first and title single taken from Nas' 2006 album of the same name. It is produced by and features will.i.am. It peaked at number 48 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart,[1] as well as number 41 on the Billboard Hot 100. On December 31, 2007, the music video for "Hip Hop Is Dead" appeared at number 93 on BET's Notarized: Top 100 Videos of 2007 countdown, even though the video was released in December 2006.


The lyrics deal with the idea of hip-hop's death as artistically viable music, as explained below:

Nas clearly decries the idea that hip hop has gone the way of commercialization, pledging to stay true to its origins, as in the last line of verse 1, where Nas mentions MC Shan and MC Ren, by saying So nigga, who's your top ten, is it MC Shan is it MC Ren.

Nas also mentions NBA commissioner David Stern.

Original samples[edit]

"Hip Hop Is Dead" contains samples of "Apache" performed by the Incredible Bongo Band, and "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" performed by Iron Butterfly. Nas previously used the same sample on "Thief's Theme". In the second verse Nas uses the line "the bigger the cap the bigger the peelin'" which was used in Ice Cube's tracks "Steady Mobbin'" and "No Vaseline" off his 1991 album Death Certificate.


On the album, both original and edited, the lyrics have been altered to remove profanities and gun references. The parts of the song when he says the word "Nigga" is removed and replaced by other words, but it still keeps some words which are censored, including "Ganja". The original one can also be heard censored, when Nas says a profanity, the disc is scratched on words like "AK, Ganja, Nigga and Ass" but has less censors than the censored version, which blanks out the profanity. Some lines are changed into another line because it originally had profanity in it, when Nas says the line "Rich ass niggas is ridin with three llamas", it is changed to "Quick fast trigger fingers on the llama". Also when Nas says the line "Cuz we love to talk on ass we gettin" to "Cuz we love to talk on nasty chickens". The un-edited version can be found on various mixtapes. The main part of the song that is constantly changed is the hook. The different versions of the hook are:

  • Original Single Version:

"If hip hop should die before I wake / I'll put an extended clip inside of my AK / Roll to every station, murder the DJ / Roll to every station, murder the DJ"

  • Album Version:

"If hip hop should die before I wake / I'll put/load an extended clip and body 'em all day / Roll to every station, wreck the DJ / Roll to every station, wreck the DJ"

But, for the MTV version, "clip and body 'em" is censored, along with words like "Smoke, Die, Grindin', hittin', Behind, Stick-Ups and Killings".


Track listing[edit]

  1. "Hip Hop Is Dead" (Clean)
  2. "Hip Hop Is Dead" (Instrumental)
  3. "Where Y'all At" (Explicit)


Chart (2007)[2] Peak
Australian ARIA Singles Chart[3] 84
Australian ARIA Physical Singles Chart[4] 52
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 41
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 48
U.S. Billboard Hot Rap Tracks 25
U.S. Billboard Pop 100 35
UK Singles Chart 36


  1. ^ Allmusic: Hip Hop Is Dead? Allmusic/Billboard. Retrieved on December 6, 2006
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  4. ^ [2] ARIA Report 888. Retrieved 2012-03-05