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Review: Nas' Remix Of J. Cole's 'Let Nas Down' Is The Year’s Most Intriguing Recorded Moment (So Far)

Nas flips Cole's tribute/confessional for a remix that doesn't disappoint

The danger of creating a tribute to a fellow artist—no matter how heartfelt, conceptual or well-meaning it is—is the finished work can be perceived as banal. After all, we live in a pretty jaded world in which Paris Hilton has a recording deal (just let that sink in). Yet when new breed lyricist J. Cole included the intriguing track “Let Nas Down” on his sophomore album Born Sinner, the results were far from dishwater. In fact, it was pretty insightful—a brutally honest detail of the well-worn battle between art vs. commerce. The remix, however, featuring Nasty Nas himself, takes the saxophone-paced soulful cut to an even more surreal place, making it one of this year’s most powerful statements.

But to get the full impact of the song, it’s important to go back to the original. Essentially an open letter to one of rap’s most revered figures, “Let Nas Down” finds Cole detailing his real-life disappointment of not living up to his idol’s lofty expectations following a conversation with his producer No I.D. “Dion called me when it dropped, sounded sad but sincere…told me Nas heard your single and he hate that shit,” Cole recalls of his attempts to garner a radio hit with the somewhat tepid "Work Out." “Said you the one, yo why you make that shit?”

What happened next is freakin' awesome. Nas jumps on the track to not only publicly offer his backing of the lyrically gifted Cole, but to let him know that he has also been on the other end of blatantly going for the commercial brass ring at the expense of fans. “I ain't mad at you, young king, this unsung song is haunting…Radio records are needed, I just wanted it to bring the warning…” There’s a lot going on throughout this compact 2 minutes, 29 seconds response. It’s all there. From Nas telling the much younger Cole to not look for the stamp approval from veteran musical giants, even larger-than-life mentor Shawn Carter who is naturally busy protecting his own immaculate throne (“It's hard for the great to tell somebody how to be great…”) to Mr. Jones’ deft, brilliant flip of the North Carolina native’s own rhymes (“Long live the idols, may they never be your rivals/Slick Rick was like Jesus, G Rap wrote the Bible/Now what you're 'bout to hear is a tale of glory and sin/Large Professor's my mentor, that's how the story end…”). It’s Nas’ way of saying that hip-hop is in good hands with the likes of Cole, Kendrick Lamar and Tyler, the Creator leading the way.

Indeed, this is not the case of an old, bitter man blocking the path of the young lion. It’s Rakim giving an approving nod to Nas after hearing the hungry newcomer on Main Source's now classic "Live at the Barbeque" circa 1991. And that’s a beautiful thing.—Keith Murphy (@murphdogg29)

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Event attendees admire the limited-edition Sprite Ginger Collection items at the Sprite drop event at Extra Butter NY, on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020 in New York City.
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Sprite Launches Sprite Ginger Capsule Collection In New York City

Sprite is testing out another way for you to "obey your thirst" or "thirst for yours" with its new Sprite Ginger flavor. Introduced earlier this month, the addition to the soft drink's portfolio  "brings together the classic lemon-lime taste of Sprite with a hit of ginger flavor in every sip," according to a Coca Cola press release

To celebrate the brand's "spirit of reinvention," Sprite worked with veteran streetwear designer Jeff Staple and a team of young tastemakers and artists to develop the limited-edition “Sprite Ginger Collection,” inspired by reinvention and by the facets of culture permeating hip hop, fashion, music, and art. At a private event earlier this month at New York City's Extra Butter, Sprite debuted the brand's first limited-edition creative capsule by Staple and 9 other creatives, which consists of hoodies, jackets, jewelry, tees and more.

During a panel discussion moderated by Hearst style director, Tiffany Reid, Staple alongside creatives BLUBOY, Barbara Rego and Elan Watson chatted about drop culture, how young artists can make their mark in the industry, and the importance of reinvention.

"Having a [fashion] brand for 20+ years almost requires you, necessitates you to reinvent yourself because there's no way you can do the same thing for, forget 20 years, even 3 years before you're literally dead," shared Staple. "To me, the opposite of reinvention is death because you're not moving forward. You're just completely stagnant.

"So for me, it was always me constantly trying every few seasons to figure out a way to reinvent myself. And not in a way where I needed to stay relevant. I never felt a need to stay relevant, but I wanted to actually be able to connect authentically with the next generation of creators because that is actually what inspires me."

Dapper Dan, Amara La Negra, Mack Wilds, and Sway Calloway were among the celebrities and influencers who made an appearance at the event. Harlem's own Dave East performed a couple of his records while DJ Va$htie provided sounds throughout the night while spinning on the ones and twos.

Over the next few weeks, Sprite and Staple will continue the search for up-and-coming designers and host a series of "re-workshops" Extra Butter. Scroll down to see more pictures from the event. For more info on where you get a bottle of Sprite Ginger, head over the Sprite.com. As for where you can cop an item from the collection, follow @Sprite on Twitter and Instagram for surprise giveaways. You can also visit head over to StaplePigeon.com for more Sprite swag!

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Pop Smoke's Family Calls For "Respect And Responsible Reporting" Following His Death

On Feb. 19, rising rapper Pop Smoke was killed inside a Los Angeles-based home. The Brooklyn native, born Bashar Jackson, was 20 years old. His passing ignited a wave of condolences from his peers in the music industry, friends, and family. According to Complex, the Jackson Family issued a statement on the passing, noting an investigation has yet to make strides in solving Pop Smoke's murder.

The family of Bashar 'Pop Smoke' Jackson would like to express our sincere gratitude to everyone for your support. Every prayer, call, and act of kindness is deeply appreciated as we mourn the loss of our son, brother and friend.

Brooklyn knew him as Bashar. He was educated and nurtured in Brooklyn and his rise to fame all developed from the place he proudly represented. Within the last year, his extraordinary giftedness was revealed to the world, introducing Pop Smoke.

Unfortunately, there are no public details available regarding the murder of our loved one. We ask for respect and responsible reporting during this critical time. Inaccurate reports only add unnecessary pain to a grieving family.

The autopsy report states Pop Smoke died from a gunshot that punctured his torso. According to the New York Times, the Los Angeles Police Department plans to investigate all avenues of a motive since it's refraining from deeming this instance as a robbery or a premeditated murder.

"There were a couple of items that were taken, but some of the things you would think would be taken weren't even really looked for," Capt. Jonathan L. Tippet said. "So that's why we're not really saying that it was a robbery or that he was the intended target."

Before his death, Pop Smoke was on the precipice of experiencing acclaimed fame when his Meet The Woo 2 project landed at the No. 7 spot on the Billboard 200. The soundscape featuring melodies like "Get Back," "Element," and "Christopher Walking."

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Nicki Minaj Donates $25,000 To Trinidad's St. Jude's Home For Girls

During her viral return to her home of Trinidad and Tobago, Nicki Minaj gave back to one of the country's institutions that was a surprise to faculty and students alike. According to TTT News, the "Yikes" rapper donated $25,000 to the St. Jude's Home for Girls

"I want to thank you for your work with the girls. I want to thank you for giving them hope and inspiration, and they've even given me hope and inspiration being here today. And I want to donate $25,000 to help the girls." Minaj also revealed plans to build a recreational center.

The famed artist recently wrapped up her participation in the country's annual carnival. Alongside her husband Kenneth Petty, Minaj shared photos of her costume and even shared a statement on the reported disinterest look her spouse displayed throughout the festivities.

 

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Rappers would kill for this attention chile. Lol at night when we go to bed I say “babe u was all over the blogs today”. He be like “oh word?” 😂🤣 he rlly don’t have social media to see y’all write think pieces about him chile. ‼️♥️♥️♥️ AND AH LIKE IT LIKE IT LIKE THISSSSSSS. JUS LIKE THIS ‼️‼️‼️‼️🥰

A post shared by Barbie (@nickiminaj) on Feb 27, 2020 at 5:52am PST

 

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Proud Trini 🇹🇹

A post shared by Barbie (@nickiminaj) on Feb 25, 2020 at 2:59pm PST

 

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Trini to di 🦴

A post shared by Barbie (@nickiminaj) on Feb 25, 2020 at 8:38am PST

 

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🇹🇹🙏🏾 meet me on Tribe truck right now 😘🥰♥️

A post shared by Barbie (@nickiminaj) on Feb 25, 2020 at 8:29am PST

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