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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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Kevin Mazur

Ebro Darden Denies Report That Says 'Hot 97' Will Not Play Tekashi 6ix9ine's Music

'Hot 97' radio personality Ebro Darden denies a TMZ report which said that the station will not play Tekashi 6ix9ine's music once, and if, he's released from prison.

Earlier today, TMZ published a report that stated that a Hot 97 executive said the station has never really been fans of Tekashi 6ix9ine, and that they will not play his music upon his release. Shortly after the report was published, Ebro responded.

"All execs @HOT97 deny speaking to anyone @TMZ," Ebro wrote in a tweet, "So this means that Tekashi marketing machine is revving up to rally his on-line #Bots and drive stories."

All execs @HOT97 deny speaking to anyone @TMZ ..... so this means that Tekashi marketing machine is revving up to rally his on-line #Bots and drive stories.

— El Viejo Ebro (@oldmanebro) October 14, 2019

A follower replied how Ebro shuts down new artists. And Ebro responded by saying that he will play Tekashi's music.

And then this... hahahahaha! I just said I was gonna play it. Ya’ll dumb

— El Viejo Ebro (@oldmanebro) October 14, 2019

6ix9ine reportedly signed a $10 million deal with his former label, 10k Projects, to record two albums upon his release from prison. It's been reported that one will be recorded in English and the other will be recorded in Spanish. As for his looming release, the rapper's sentencing has been scheduled for Dec. 18 at 10 a.m. EST.

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Kevin Mazur

New York City's 'Hot 97' Will Not Play Tekashi 6ix9ine's Music After His Prison Release

With 6ix9ine expected to come home soon, reportedly to a record deal worth $10 million, New York City's Hot 97 radio station is making it known that they will not play his music.

According to a report by TMZ, an executive from the radio station confirmed that they are not planning on playing 6ix9ine's music upon his release from prison. Hot 97's exec admits that the station has never been a big supporter of the rapper. They also dislike the Brooklyn rapper's decision to testify against his former Nine Trey Gangsta Bloods associates.

This also includes possibly banning the rapper from Summer Jam concert. TMZ  reported that the "Gummo" rapper is too much of a liability to preform at the celebrated concert.

Last year, Hot 97 personality Ebro, host of Ebro in the Morning, traded shots with 6ix9ine after the rapper berated Ebro on "Stoopid."

The executive states  that unless there's a public uproar that demands the station to play an overly successful song, then the company would consider it.

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Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images

Queen Latifah To Receive Harvard University's W.E.B. Du Bois Medal

Praise for Queen Latifah's contributions to black culture continues to pour in for the Newark, New Jersey native. According to the Associated Press, the "U.N.I.T.Y" rapper will receive Harvard University's W.E.B. Du Bois Medal.

Alongside the award-winning entertainer, other game-changers in black culture will be honored on Oct. 22 including BET's co-founder Sheila Johnson, CEO of Vista Equity Partners Robert Smith, poet Rita Dove and more.

The occasion arrives over a year since Latifah received an honorary doctorate degree from Rutgers University in her New Jersey home state.

“This place has shaped me," she said during her acceptance speech. "Whether it’s been your home for four years or 40 years or something in between, you carry it with you. Just as I have. Long before Living Single and Set It Off and Chicago, it’s lessons I learned right here at home that made me the person I am."

The W.E.B. Du Bois Medal isn't only named after the activist but commemorates Du Bois' feat as the first black student to obtain a doctorate degree from the Ivy League.

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