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Higher Learning. A publication from Medium for the interested man.

Nas

In LEVEL. More on Medium.

Just Rankin’ Sh!t

One of hip-hop’s greatest rivalries has yielded some yearned-for duets — most recently on DJ Khaled’s latest album. How do they all stack up?

Photo: Save As/Medium; Source: Getty Images

Despite solid, straightforward verses, this solemn Theater of the Mind deep cut is a bit ham-fisted — like pandering too hard to the kind of dudes who refused to acknowledge Soulja Boy as #realhiphop. Loosen up a little, fellas. Sheesh.

Years of anticipation and royal horns ripped straight from The Godfather: Part II made the perfect setup for this much-anticipated linkup between two former foes. But the hype of this 2006 Hip Hop Is Dead cut was impossible to meet — and the end result felt especially anticlimactic. (Plus, Juelz Santana and Mixtape Weezy did it better.)

Due to their…


Just Rankin’ Sh!t

How do the instrumentals stack up on the perfect hip-hop LP?

Photo source: Columbia Records

This simple, yet effective string loop kind of putters along while Nas kicks some day-in-the-life raps. Yeah, whatever.

Extra P’s lo-fi scramble of bass, horn flurries, and vocal chops sounds dusty nearly 30 years after this song’s release, but gotdamn if this beat doesn’t still bump.

The premise of this list is a trap. To say that this pristine flip of The Gap Band’s “Yearning for Your Love” — and that luscious brass outro played by Nas’ pops, Olu Dara — belongs in the bottom third of this batch is just ludicrous. …

LEVEL

Higher Learning. A publication from Medium for the interested man.

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