Во народ убивается на американских форумах, анализирует. У нас оно как - надо по-быстрому написать "говно, не буду слушать"
Анализ Black Republican:
Jay comes in first.
“I know you can feel the magic baby.”
There’s definitely magic in the air. This also denotes there’s more to the song than meets the ear. This not the mundane trading of 16 bars… this is significant.
“Turn the muthafu*kin lights down”
Again… this is cinematic… what happens before a movie? The lights go down…
“Esco what up?”
The period is set. This isn’t about 2006. This is back when Nas was Nas Escobar. This is about 1998-2001.
“What up homie”
Nas acknowledges this.
“I mean, it’s what you expected ain’t it?”
On the surface it seems like Jay’s being sarcastic. Like, “Oh wow, a Nas and Jay colab, big surprise”. But he’s also calling into the question the content of the song. Taunting the listener not to take what they’re about to hear at face value.
More ad libs… reminding you, this is hip-hop, this is music. Builds anticipation. Opening credits… Jay continues to taunt the listener. Pay attention.
“I feel like a Black Republican - Money I got it coming in”
Jay defines his perspective. Rich, corporate executive. Political allegiances towards protecting business, keeping government small, less restrictions on building capital. Jay is cool siding with the establishment, as long as it makes him rich. He may say he’s pimping the system, but in the process he begins to identify with it.
“Huddling over the oven we was like brothers then”.
Prologue. Nas and Jay were both (supposedly) crack dealers before they were rappers. A parallel between the two is set up. (Huddling over the oven implies cooking crack). Also Jay defines them as brothers.
“Though you was nothin other than the son of my mother’s friend”.
Not brothers in a biological sense, but brothers nonetheless. The distinction made is clear. This is not a verse about Jay’s real brother, this is a verse about his figurative brother, who else but Nas.
“We had governing - who would’ve thought the love would end”
Jay may be referring to a number of different things here. Governing may be their mutual friendship with BIG, and how he kept them both in line (in terms of lyrical competition). Also may mean that they were both well mannered.
“Never thought we’d sing the same song that all hoods sing”
The same song that all hoods sing = inevitable beef. Jay never thought he would end up beefing with Nas.
“Thought it was all wood grain - all good brain”
First, all good brain, refers to Jay and Carmen. Jay is basically saying, he thought it wouldn’t be a problem that he was getting head from Carmen (Nas’ fiancé). In other words, she’s a groupie, head is head, no beef on his side.
“We wouldn’t bicker like the other fools talk good game”
Jay thought he and Nas were above female drama. Unlike others who succumb to it and “bicker” like “fools”.
“Never imagined all the disaster that one could bring.”
Again, Jay is stating he anticipated nothing. And also that he was shocked at how Carmen (one person) could lead to “all the disaster”… basically the beef songs, negative interviews and general drama.
“Good brain. Should blame the game”
Again Jay is portraying Carmen as nothing more than “good brain (a hoe adapt at sucking penis)”. Should blame the game, meaning don’t blame Jay-Z, blame the conditions of the music industry and fame that lead women to sleep around. Also in a more general sense the game of men and women and multiple partners.
“It’s kill or be killed - how could I refrain”
Jay is referring to the fact that he felt he had to diss Nas. With all the rumors, subliminals and drama building and all the talk of who was better, Jay felt that he had a need to strike first (be it with Is That Your Chick, or Takeover). It was kill or be killed. Survival of the fittest. Only room for one at the top. Jay had no choice. To refrain from entering the beef would’ve meant the death of Jay-Z the credible MC.
“Forever being bettin - that’s never a good thing”
Again referring to the ambiguity as to who was better at the time of the beef. “Forever being bettin” alludes to the endless speculation that would’ve have occurred if there hadn’t been an explicit battle with both MCs laying down their best battle verses. In Jay’s opinion this would not have been a good thing.
“So the pressure for success can put a good strain - on a friend you call best”
Again… the pressure for success lead Jay to strike first. A friend you call best? Hmmm. Well Nas and Jay weren’t best friends by any stretch of the imagination. But remember Jay is speaking metaphorically here. Because they were contemporaries on the highest level it may have felt to Jay that they were “best friends”. Remember Jay was a bit of Stan back then. Constantly on Nas’ dick. In any case he held Nas in very high esteem, (”Illmatic rocked” “Firm like Foxy, Nas and AZ” “Whos the best, Pac, BIG or Nas”.) The same esteem one would give their best friend.
“And yes it could bring - the worst in every person - even the good n’ sane”
Saying the battle brought out the worst in everyone involved in both camps. From Nas (”Ether” specifically the parts doggin Jay’s looks), Jungle (stuff said in interviews, and “Bravehearted” “not like snitch CJ or bitch Jay-Z”), Nashawn (”Write Your Name” “I heard [Cam] got AIDS full blown”) and Wiz (interviews). And from Jay (Is That Your Bitch, Takeover, Supa Ugly, especially parts disrespecting Destiny and Carmen by name), Memphis Bleek (various songs, “Memphis Bleek Is”), Beans (songs), Cam Ron (”Hate Me Now Freestyle”) and Dame Dash (interviews). Remember we know Jay considers it the worst because he went and apologized on Hot 97 after Super Ugly (cause his mom told him to).
“Though we rehearsed it - it just ain’t the same”
Very interesting line. Not quite sure what to make of it. Was the beef preplanned? Did Nas and Jay have a phone convo at some point and say “yea we really doin this”. And then it got out of hand. It implies there was some communication before hand. Personally I don’t think it was all fake, there was real animosity there. But it’s interesting that it started in a (presumably) civilized way.
“Then you mix things like cars, jewelry, and miss thing”
Jay’s stating that the money confused things further. Not only was it about survival it was also about getting more paper, financial success. And also, “miss thing”. They both still had feelings for Carmen. That especially complicated the battle between the two premier MCs of NYC.
“Jealousy, evil and pride and this brings - it all to a head like a coin - cha ching”
It got emotional. It got ugly. Pride was mixed up, jealously on both sides. Carmen was fu*kin Jay but she (supposedly) loved Nas. These were the ultimate catalysts. Jay’s wack coin metaphor is what it is.
“The root of evil strikes again - this could sting - now the team got beef between the post and the point - this puts the ring in jeopardy”
Jay is sayin that the lust for power was the root of evil. The power over Carmen, the power over the game, power that wealth brings. “This could sting”… even though they sought to destroy each other, they knew they would be tattered. Harsh lines were thrown and harsh realities were exposed on both sides. “Beef between the post and the point”. Jay sees him and Nas as being on the same team. East Coast NY Hip Hop. Black Musicians. Their mutual success is beneficial to the rap game. Destroying one hurts the other. Like Kobe and Shaq beefin puttin the championship (the ring) in jeopardy, Nas and Jay beefin puts the ultimate goal of black owned industry in jeopardy. Also could be looked at as a jab to Dame Dash.
Now for the best part. Nas’ verse. This sh*t is so dense, dudes are gonna be decoding for years. But I’ll scratch the surface.
“I feel like a black militant taking over the government”
First of all, Nas clearly differentiates himself from Jay’s black Republican aesthetic. A militant is the ultimate revolutionary, willing to do whatever it takes to make change. Since Republicans are generally concerned with protecting the status quo, Nas’ stance as a militant bringing change is decidedly opposed to Jay’s conservatism.
In essence, Nas is sayin, I’m different. This is what Jay represents. And this is what I represent. We cool. But we still different.
Back to the line. “I’m like black militant - overthrowing the government”.
Nas, the independent of all independents, Nas who stands alone (Bravehearts don’t count), has joined Def Jam. Def Jam (while once representative of fresh new music) has in recent years become the emblem for big business hip-hop. They sell sh*t loads of albums (Jay, Kanye, LL, Beastie Boys, Red and Meth, Ludacris, Ne-Yo, whateverthefu*k, DMX’s early sh*t). They are in essense the government of hip hop (arguments can be made for Interscope and Atlantic, but c’mon, Def Jam is Def Jam). And here’s Nas, suddenly on Def Jam, the self proclaimed black militant, taking over the government. Taking the behemoth that is Def Jam and crafting it in his own image. Daring to call an album “Hip-Hop is Dead” on the most fabled hip hop label. Dissing half the artists on the roster (Def Jam South).
“I’m back in the hood they like ‘Hey Nas’ - blowin on purp - reflecting on they lives”
Superficially, Nas establishes himself as the street artist. Still relevent in the hood. Still tight with the ones strugglin. Smokin weed, thinking about their lives, as Nas reminisces on his. A parallel is made between Nas and the common man.
Looking deeper, Nas is beginning his story. He’s transporting the listener back to his hood days. “I’m back in the hood”. The setting is now 1994. The movie has just flashed back. “They like hey Nas”… QB is still cool with Nas, this is before the beef with various QB rappers. “Blowin on purp reflectin on they lives”. Nas is tellin you he’s one of them now, and in this song he’s reflecting on his life. He’s reflecting on the ups and downs, the success, the failures. The love, the hate. Specifically Carmen.
“Couple of fat cats - couple of A.I.s - dreamin of fly sh*t instead of them grey skies”
Nas (the film’s director) cuts now to various locations that are parallel with this time setting (1994). Marcy, Brooklyn. A young “fat cat” Jay-Z dreams of “fly sh*t”. Harlem, NY. Another fat cat, Sean Combs is starting Bad Boy. Cut to Georgetown University. “A.I” or Allen “The Answer” Iverson, is playin college ball dreaming of the NBA. What do these “Fat Cats” and “A.I.s” have in common? Well its what they have in Carmen. They all slept with her. And thus they are all relevant to the beef story Nas and Jay are spittin about on this song.
This line is dope because it establishes a parallel between all the players in this film. Nas, Jay, Puff, and AI were all started out in roughly the same place. Street kids dreamin of “fly sh*t” instead of the depression and “grey skies” of ghetto life.
If you listen to the background you’ll hear faintly the sounds of someone moaning (it may be Jay’s ad libs) but it also serves to underline the connection between the Fat Cats and A.I.s. They all fu*ked Carmen.
“Grey 5s - hate us - wishin our reign dies”
Nas flashes forward to the current haters against the aforementioned. In him and Jay’s case it’s Dip Set and Camron. Also 50, and various QB affiliates. For Puff it’s basically the entire hip-hop underground. For Allen Iverson it’s David Stern with his “NBA fashion issues” (see Hip Hop is Dead track) (Iverson is notorious for bringing the thug aesthetic onto the basketball court. Something league commissioner David Stern and his conservative friends are trying to change (not because they’re necessarily racist, which they may be, but because they want to expand the NBA to more country audiences).
“Pitch sling pies, and niggas they sing why - guess they ain’t strong enough to handle they jail time”
Direct reference to Cormega and Lake. Ex jail heads (and slingers) who have beef with Nas. Brutal line “guess they ain’t strong enough to handle they jail time”. Nas is taunting them, saying prison made them soft and now they expect Nas to hold their hands.
“Weak minds keep tryin - follow the street signs”.
This expands the diss to all weak rappers currently goin at Nas. Jim Jones, Cam, Nore, Uno Dos. :Follow the street signs” references the underground nature of these beefs. These are out of the public eye and known only to hip-hop heads.
“I’m standing on the roof of my building - I’m feelin the whirl wind of beef - I inhale it”
Presented here are two different eras of Nas. One is Nasty “Kid Wave” Nas standing on top of the QB Housing Projects, Building 15. He’s dealin with hood sh*t. Dealin with the dudes that merked Ill Will. Dealing with his fallout with Cormega.
The other is Nasir “God’s Son” Jones. He’s standin on top of his mansion in Long Island. He’s beefing too. First with Jay-Z and The Roc, now with Dip Set, G-Unit and QB.
“The whirl wind of beef”. It’s a force that Nas can’t control, a whirlwind, a entity of nature. It exists outside of him. It’s tangible, he can feel it. It’s chaotic, disorienting. And what does Nas do? He inhales it. He internalizes it. He makes it his. Like inhaling weed smoke, he is changed by its chemical nature. He is energized.
“Like an acrobat ready to hurl myself through the hoops of fire”
But unlike weed, the beef doesn’t slow him or hinder his drive. Instead it fuels him. It gives him the verbal agility that an acrobat has physically. It allows him to drop albums like “Illmatic” or “Stillmatic”. It gives him courage to go through the “hoops of fire”. The critics, the fickle fans, the fickle radio DJs. If he can overcome beef, he can overcome that sh*t too.
“Sippin 80 proof - bulletproof under my attire”
80 proof represents the hard core sh*t that Nas spits. The strongest of the strong. This music is pure. “Bullet proof under my attire”, he’s protected, from physical bullets, and verbal bullets.
“Could it be the forces of darkness against hood angels that’s good that form street politics”
This is the deepest line in the whole song. I could write 10 pages about this. But I’ll keep it as brief as possible. The forces of darkness here represents many things. First it’s the animosity that grew between him and Jay. The discord between two men. The beef itself. The disharmony. It is also the things that caused the beef. The lust for wealth. The greed. The things that plague every hood, every man. The lust for power. The lust for women. It’s the evil inherent in mankind. The remnants of original sin. Nas makes it Biblical with the angel reference. These angels may be literal angels from a Judeo Christian heaven. They are also figurative angels. Nas and Jay-Z could both be angels trying to uphold hip hop. But going beyond that, Nas is talking about the good forces in the hood, the benevolent in life. He’s talking about Ann Jones trying to keep her son away from the forces of darkness. Away from the gun slingers and crack dealers. About all the mothers protecting their sons and the wives taking care of their men. The love. The caring. The basic qualities of human kind that are good.
And the oppostion between these “angels of good” and “forces of darkness” creates “street politics”. The debate between right and wrong. Is it right to deal drugs to feed one’s family? Is it right to kill in defense? These are examples where the good and the bad meet. These are questions of hood politics. The ethics of survival living.
“Makes a sweet honest kid turn illegal for commerce - to get his feet out of them Converse - that’s my word”
Nas brings it full circle with this line. First it relates to the previous line. A sweet honest kind, who’s tempted by the darkness, the greed, the wealth. He wants to feed his family, move his mom out of the hood. There’s good intention. But what can he do? A 9 to 5 won’t give him sh*t. College is not an option. So he turns illegal. Converse, the shoes of the street represent the poverty. Drug dealing gets him better shoes, better cars, more power, and perhaps the chance to help those he loves. But he hurts hundreds in the process.
Who is Nas talking about? Most generally he’s talking about youth everywhere who are tempted by evil. More specifically the urban youth of the ghettos. And finally, he’s talking about Jay and himself. They both started out innocent. Jay with his mom buyin him a boom box, and Nas playin his pop’s trumpet. Then they experienced the evils of the hood. Nas with Will’s death. Jay with crack dealin down South. They both did shady sh*t. Let their lust for women corrupt their relationships with women they loved. Let their lust for power and jealousy and resentment throw them into an ugly, personal and public beef. They both lived their verses. They embody what they say. And that’s their word.