Turn Your Speakers Way Up – Catch The Message Of ’96

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Turn Your Speakers WAY up.. then press play!

The Message” is the third and final single from rapper Nas’ second album It Was Written. It is produced by the Trackmasters, who sample Sting’s “Shape of My Heart” for the song’s beat. The song features scratching provided by Kid Capri and lyrics about the life of a thug. “The Message” was only released as a single in France and did not manage to reach any music charts. A black-and-white music video was made for the song. “The Message” also features vocal samples from Nas’s 1994 classic “N.Y. State Of Mind” with Nas saying “I never sleep/cuz sleep is the cousin of death”. And, “I ain’t the type of brother made for you to start testin'”. And “Halftime” after his second verse saying “There ain’t an army that can strike back”.

It was released during the feud between the East and West Coast. West Coast rapper 2Pac viewed the first lyrics of the song “Fake thug, no love, you get the slug, CB4 gusto, your luck low, I didn’t know till I was drunk though” as a subliminal diss and responded in two songs from his last album whilst alive, The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory: “Bomb First” and “Against All Odds”. Although the two rappers purportedly reconciled before 2Pac’s death, 2Pac was never able to edit the lyrics against Nas due to his murder.

Nas has confirmed that the song actually disses The Notorious B.I.G. with the lines, “There’s one life, one love, so there can only be one King.”[1] While the quote “there can only be one king” is attributed to Pablo Escobar, a role model of Nas, this lyric challenged Notorious B.I.G.’s title of King of New York at that the time of its release. He responded on the track “Kick in the Door” from his 1997 album Life After Death.

Reading about old beef is kind of strange sometimes.  I wonder if things could be taken back…. would they.  Then again, some of hip hops greatest songs wouldn’t get made.  What a funny world we live in.

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