Dropping an album called Hip-Hop Is Dead is a bold statement, even for a respected rap veteran like Nas. So it’s inevitable that the highly anticipated album be received with a chic album release party, stocked with the cream of the industry and of course, some choice celebrity presence.
The event was held at Capitale in New York, where the sky-high ceilings were draped in dim golden lighting, setting the tone for a truly intense experience. Keeping with the theme of the evening, halls were adorned with metallic hued coffins and bundles of blood-red roses while a violinist accompanied the music blaring from the sound system. Black doves were suspended from the ceiling above the dance floor, which by the end of the night held hoards of passionate supporters of Nas’ attempt to resurrect the lost art of hip-hop.
Read more and see the rest of the photos after the jump.
Though this party was considered unique, one thing remains constant—the VIP in the back with just a thin glass plate between the platinum crowd and those who love them. Around midnight the stars scattered in, headed straight toward the back but not without graciously stopping along the way to shake hands and acknowledge guests, who were elegantly clad in formal black and white attire, as per the invitation’s request.
With a presidential swagger that can only be pulled off by few, Jay-Z worked the crowd before his retreat into the VIP, which was swimming with friends and even press by the end of the evening. Beyoncé played the first lady quite well, smiling for pictures while others such as Chamillionaire and NBA baller Chris Webber joined them.
After the bottles got to poppin’ and the music started to stream Nas’ latest songs, the man himself took to the stage to greet his audience and make a toast. Dressed in a flashy black tux with red details, the rapper turned lyrical philosopher spoke about the glory that hip-hop once held and his plans to bring it back.
“Hip-hop dies when it hits wax,”Â Nas said, as the crowd responded. “I never forgot where I’m from. It started here in New York but I got love for every rapper. It’s up to us to bring this shit back to life.”Â
And life was definitely evident as roars of applause rose from Nas’ supporters as he introduced guests who accompanied him for the evening such as his father, as well as bombshell wifey, Kelis—dressed to impress as always.
While on stage, Nas shouted out a slew of old school artists, giving props to the honorable pioneers of rap who paved the way for those who found success in later years. There artists were also revered tonight as the people who secured this genre that went from underground trend to international culture.
In the glow of his new venture, Hip-Hop Is Dead, Nas sticks with his claim that’s already caught a lot of attention, in hopes that the surface meaning can be scratched to possibly bring truth back to tradition.
Words by Rajul Punjabi. Photos by Efrain Hernandez.