hip hop is dead revolves around a ridiculous and self-inflated concept. hip hop is not, was not, and will never be dead, even if it constantly changes shape. however, nas’ stringent traditionalism lit a fire under his ass - the music on his eighth studio album is some of the most inspired that mc has put out this century. this is its most victorious moment - about five years after one of the most historic beefs in hip hop history, jay and nas put their differences aside. even if the two sound pretty disconnected (in fact, jay z sounds a little annoyed in the intro), both support their status as legends here, delivering reflective verses that accentuate the grandiosity of the glorious production work. the video for jay’s excellent “roc boys (and the winner is…),” released the following year, features nas, hov, and diddy smoking cigars together - it’s a powerful image. if nothing else, the prospect of hip hop’s demise brought our legends closer together than ever. it doesn’t sound like hip hop is doing too bad after all, huh?