Hip-hop history is, unfortunately, suffused with death, with many of the genre’s most famous artists never even living to see 30. So on the one hand, the legendary KRS-One—who’s been in the industry long enough to see untold scores of his contemporaries die, of causes both violent and natural—can be forgiven for getting mixed-up on some of the specifics. On the other hand, oops, he thinks the Beastie Boys’ Ad-Rock is dead, and he just shouted out his ghost on the new track, “Hip Hop Speaks From Heaven.”
“Like a late fog in the mist / I see King Ad-Rock / And rest in peace Nate Dogg / Their names and their natures will last,” KRS-One says around the 3:12 mark, adding the very-much-alive Adam Horovitz to a eulogy for fallen rappers that includes Tupac, Biggie, Eazy-E, Big Pun, Ol Dirty Bastard, Big L, J Dilla, and Phife Dawg, among others.
Surely, KRS-One meant to honor the late Adam Yauch (aka MCA), who died of cancer in 2012, and he definitely wasn’t making any sort of implicit threat toward Horovitz—nor was he offering some sort of lyrical judgment call on how Horovitz’s role in a Noah Baumbach movie means he’s dead to him now, probably. As XXL says, it seems to be an honest mistake, baffling as it is that no one involved with the song’s production caught it before release. And sure, while Horovitz himself might find it a little jarring to, essentially, attend his own wake, we’re sure he’s touched to know that KRS-One thinks he’ll live on long after he dies. Uh, whenever that might be.
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