In a recent interview with Complex Magazine, rapper and singer M.I.A shared some candid thoughts on Jay-Z and Nas’ roads to success.

“Jay became the biggest representation of rap music who’s still alive, started dating Beyoncé, everything was so much bigger and better with Jay-Z. I hope people don’t think that that wins.

The fact that Nas didn’t become all this sort of stuff changes people’s perception about the music and the work he achieved in his lifetime. I don’t wanna say Jay-Z sold out, but I just feel like we have to wait another 10 years to see what happens.

Jay-Z’s ambition was to become like Frank Sinatra, a household name all over the planet, and own a casino in Vegas and stuff like that. And I think Nas was really sticking to knowledge. I still think the biggest point about hip-hop is in there somewhere, what happens to those two artists.”

M.I.A brings up some critical points– much like the commercialization of hip hop, a performance art born out of resistance. Jay-Z and Nas are aware of their distinct styles. The rap kings made it explicitly clear on their reuniting track ‘Black Republican.’ Jay Z said he felt like keeping the money coming in and Nas said he wanted to take over the government. Jay-Z also versed he can’t turn his back on the hood.

These different approaches to Black community development or commitment is a long historic debate dating back to W.E.B. Du Bois v. Booker T. Washington, Malcolm X v. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. among other examples.

Looks like M.I.A is asking us to broaden our idea of success. Jay-Z has gone Hollywood, but does this mean he’s more relevant than Nas?

You be the judge! Has Jay-Z sold out?

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  • AlCap1

    So I have read many of the comments and I feel I should remove the viel of this so called success because it cuts to the heart of what hip-hop is and how far is has been sold out for the “illusion” of success. Sorry, but Jay is a sellout. All the money in the world cannot account for your integrity. Here is a guy who came into the game with the formula…the ex drug dealer, hustler turne rapper. Do your homework…even cats from Marcy will tell you Jay was never even close to being the hustler he claims so vividly in his music. He is all about money, but anyone in the game who is real will tell you that money has its place but hip hop to me has always been about the struggle, the money was a way to change that, but once you have money then what? Jay doesn’t represent hip-hop to the world, he sells an image. I mean this cat went as far as to sleep with Nas wife just to bring a hip hop beef. Nas is solid, he was always real and always kept it real, saying what needed to be said regardless if it was popular in the industry or not. Speaks about life, Jay raps about how much money he has and how tight his raps are, he speaks indirectly using alot of slick undertalk, real cats speak to the point, punks speak in riddles then hide in public. Jay needed to make all that money because he know’s he would have to eventually hide behind it. He is a corporate sell out. I mean you build a business with you man Dame then you cut him out to keep the $214 million for himself? Same shit these wall street crackers do…Then you go to Africa on some bull shit humanitarian mission only to make money out there? what happened to charity? NOPE the poor can pay too. What will ya’ll Jay lovers do when you find out that dude was never real, just a scared punk with a nice flow and no substance? Bring hip hop back to the roots. NAS and DAMIAN Marley is sick!!! REAL MUSIC and real substance… check out the tracks “Friends” and “Leaders” on that album distant cousins….Then go find out who DE Haven is…tell me who is real.

  • Ty1

    Jay Z has been bought and sold and traded like shares on Wall Street by the likes of Norton Cher, Alex Bize, Lyor Cohen and whoever they felt like loaning him to at a moments notice. Currently Jay Z is sitting on the lap of Warren Buffet like an oversized sock puppet. The photo of him trailing Buffett in the Forbes article head down like a child said it all. A wise man once told me to guard your self-respect like the treasure it is because once you give or sell it, you can never get it back.

    No matter how many mythical dope deals he raps about, regardless of how many unconfirmed millions the media attributes to him, no matter what the truth in regard to his relationships Beyonce and Tatta is, he will regain what has been lost, given, sold or traded to the highest bidder. That is gone forever. And no amount of self-centered gloating can change that.