Nas – No Idea’s Original/Rule (ft. Amerie) (composed by Nasir Jones, Alan Maman, and Barry White/composed by Nasir Jones, Samuel J. Barnes, Jean Claude Olivier, and Amerie M.M. Rogers)
Although our collection now includes three Nas maxi-singles, all of which will be reviewed, I had to start with this song.
In lieu of current political tension and genre questioning, this song seemed incredibly relevant. As well, its famous sample of “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”, by Tears for Fears, was recently used again by another of our favorite artists, Lorde. Nas also sampled “Thank You Fallentin Me Be Mice Elf Agin”, by Junior Mance, for the drums by the somewhat obscure jazz/blues musician.
It is interesting that Nas dropped ‘Stillmatic’, in December of 2001, as a direct response to his by then long-running feud with Jay Z, because of Jay Z’s direct dissing in his first track, “Takeover” from his ‘The Blueprint’ album. Between his two releases in 1999 and ‘Stillmatic’, Nas’s mother became ill with cancer and his troubles with the mother of his daughter forced him out of the public eye. Even though the first two songs, “Ether” and “Get Ur Self A…”, put Nas back on top of the east coast rap scene, “Rule” is by far the best comment on the grudge. Furthermore, it’s such a great tune to play when you’re feeling down as it’s his story of rags to riches intertwined with observations of the system that is pushed on the youth, including from Nas himself.
As far as “No Idea’s Original” goes, it clearly foreshadows his future statement about the status of rap on 2006’s ‘Hip Hop Is Dead’. Ironically, that album was released on Def Jam Records when Jay Z was president of the company. The two rappers had squashed their beef, performing Jay Z’s debut single “Dead Presidents” together on stage in 2005 at the I Declare War Concert. Eventually, in 2006, they released ‘Black Republican’ as a collaborative album.
As an artist who strives to leave his own legacy, I relate to “Rule” on so many levels and truly feel almost guilty about my ambitions, even though Nas makes it clear that it is not necessary.
– Mr. Richard
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