G-Side: Whose World Is It Now?

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G-Side; credit: 30 Pack i

G-Side remakes a Nas classic and proves that there's a thin line between Queensbridge and Huntsville, Ala. 30 Pack hide caption

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G-Side; credit: 30 Pack

G-Side remakes a Nas classic and proves that there's a thin line between Queensbridge and Huntsville, Ala.

30 Pack

Monday's Pick

  • Artist: G-Side
  • Song: "Who's Hood?"
  • CD: Huntsville International Mixtape
  • Genre: Hip-Hop

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Illmatic, Nas' 1994 paean to and from New York's Queensbridge projects, is considered by many to be the pinnacle of hip-hop — its Sgt. Pepper's or Citizen Kane. So it'd be an understatement to say that the Huntsville, Ala., duo G-Side was sticking its neck out when it decided to remake the emotional centerpiece of that album, "The World Is Yours." But in "Who's Hood?" G-Side does justice to the original, proving that the line between the largest housing project in the country and the fourth largest city in Alabama is surprisingly thin.

G-Side's in-house producers in Block Beattaz change up the classic by borrowing the same iconic piano loop from Ahmad Jamal, but they replace Pete Rock's soft-filtered samples with mechanical 808 drum kicks (drums are often where hip-hop draws its Mason-Dixon Line). Fellow Alabamian guest Yelawolf twists up syllables and plays close to the tone of Nas' nostalgic self-loathing, aiming Krylon cans at the Bible Belt instead of guns at baby pictures, but G-Siders ST and Clova cast a wider net. When he was recording Illmatic, Nas was the most buzzed-about rapper on the planet. He had a major recording contract, and his idea of grandiose was Dom P and a Gandhi VHS. G-Side is a virtual unknown, and it's already thinking internationally. "You can't run the corners from the corners," as ST puts it. To Nas, the corners made up the entirety of his world. G-Side's members might run their 'hood, but they also see the whole world from those confines.

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