Stray Shots: Angie Martinez's Power Move & Your Old Droog As Nas' Dead Ringer

This week Angie Martinez made the move from Hot 97 to Power 105.1 and Your Old Droog made us pine for a new old Nas record.

Once upon a time in a universe far, far away, HipHopDX used to host blogs. Through Meka, Brillyance, Aliya Ewing and others, readers got unfiltered opinions on the most current topics in and beyond Hip Hop. After a few years, a couple redesigns and the collective vision of three different Editors-In-Chief, blogs are back. Sort of. Since our blog section went the way of two-way pagers and physical mixtapes, Twitter, Instagram and Ustream have further accelerated the pace of current events in Hip Hop. Rappers beef with each other 140 characters at a time, entire mixtapes (and their associated artwork) can be released via Instagram, and sometimes these events require a rapid reaction.

As such, we’re reserving this space for a weekly reaction to Hip Hop’s current events. Or whatever else we deem worthy. And the “we” in question is myself, Omar Burgess and Andre Grant. Collectively we serve as HipHopDX’s Features Staff. Aside from tackling stray topics, we may invite artists and other personalities in Hip Hop to join the conversation. Without further delay, here are this week’s “Stray Shots.”

Can Hot 97 Effectively Replace Angie Martinez?

Andre: Angie Martinez leaving the place where she morphed into a New York institution to anchor the reputation of the competition is a Hip Hop power move, but it also sends real messages about the longevity of folks within and around the genre. Not only was she Hot 97’s (WQHT, 97.1) most consistently likable figure, -- who over the years softened the abrasiveness of the males at the station like DJ Funkmaster Flex, Ed Lover and most recently Ebro Darden and Peter Rosenberg but was also its most consistent. While the station has been privy to its share of scandal during Angie’s run of 20 plus years, (15 spent interviewing Hip Hop legends) she showed up day-after-day to captain her 3-7pm timeslot through likability, connections, and skill. So why leave? The equation seems fairly simple. Not only is WQHT in an experimentation phase with their new reality show This Is Hot 97 and the fluctuations revolving around their morning show lineup, but “The Voice of New York” has stated she has television and other such ambitions. It’s not like she didn’t manage to parlay her already huge influence from the chair at Emmis to Lil Kim’s “Not Tonight (Ladies Night Remix)” in ‘97, and in to two albums with the latter, Up Close and Personal peaking at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 200. That being said, she also has the notion that Hip Hop is a young person’s game to deal with, and while she is at the top of her profession, it’s inevitable that Hot 97’s longevity would eventually become a point of contention.

So with Clear Channel offering her the ability to be simulcast on 103.5 The Beat in Miami as well as spreading her influence on other Hip Hop stations nationwide, it seems like Angie is ready to spread her wings again and is beefing up her profile in order to jump into other lanes. She’s already done some work with “Extra.” The real question is just how long Angie Mar’ will be at Power 105.1. We don’t know the details of when she starts, and she’ll be holding down the afternoon slot from 2-6pm (which will probably eat alive her replacement at Hot 97 for a while), but I don’t necessarily see her continuing in radio as an on air personality exclusively for much longer. As Jay Z eventually elongated his Hip Hop career by becoming a CEO and mogul, it seems you may have to give off the impression that you’ve got greater ambitions to remain relevant within the warring tumult of Hip Hop. Simply being great at what you do for a very long time just may not be enough. 50 Cent is facing it right now after Animal Ambition, and DJ Funkmaster Flex will eventually have to make a similar decision as he, Miss Info, and Rosenberg remain the face of the brand. I can say, however, I can’t wait to see who they’ve got waiting in the wings. Though I’d like to throw in my vote for @nessnitty right this minute.

P.S: Thanks, Angie, for holding down my childhood.

Omar: To your point, there’s an entire generation of Hip Hop that grew up on Angie Martinez. Being raised on the West Coast, my allegiance was to Sway & Tech from the Wake Up Show. But for decades, Hot 97 has more or less been omnipresent. Aside from locking down the top interviews and dabbling on the artist side she has an emotional connection that resonates with listeners in and far beyond New York. Whether you’re talking about the days of The Tunnel or remembering who was on air to help you make sense of the losses of Tupac and B.I.G., she was most likely there. 

In terms of New York, Hot 97 and Power 105 are very much engaged in a Red Sox versus Yankees (un)Civil War. The loss of Martinez adds another layer to the defection of DJ Envy, Funkmaster Flex versus DJ Clue and pretty much every other Power/Hot beef you want to name. Most of the Hot/Power crews are also bona fide personalities, as evidenced by their current television roles on VH1 and REVOLT. I think more and more of Hip Hop’s contributors—writers, deejays, etc.—are angling for similar roles. The fact that Envy, Martinez, Clue and Flex have all had retail albums highlights the thin line that separates artists from the people that interview them. The fact that Diddy, Jay Z and 50 Cent all have their own media arms with REVOLT, Life+Times and ThisIs50 means they can also control the coverage around them if they choose to do so. Angie’s gonna be good money wherever she goes; and I think the same holds true for most of the Hot 97 and Power 105 personalities. But as I scan Twitter and see dozens of self-aggrandizing “writers” and aspiring personalities shucking and jiving 140 characters at a time, it will be interesting to see who from the next generation wants to challenge commonly held assumptions about popular artists and attempt to raise the level of dialogue without damaging their brand. It’s hard to look at a rapper face-to-face and call their material subpar or question their off-mic antics when you’re angling for a check. 

Is Your Old Droog the new Nasty Nas? 

Andre: A rapper sounding eerily similar to one Nasir Jones made the headlines this week as Your Old Droog which eerily translates to Your Old “Friend,” dropped a mixtape that sounded like the hood magician we’ve all come to know and love. Because it’s the Internet, wild speculation followed. Was it Nas in disguise? Which would have been the most anime way for a person to reinvent a career where they’ve already done just about everything. But it was confirmed by Dharmic X in an article on Complex that made it clear that whoever this kids was, he was not the Illmatic emcee. The same fact was also confirmed by Nah Right’s Twitter. But you can’t help but listen and hear the similarities in style, cadence, delivery and flow. I mean, someone even sped up the pitch some 80% on “Gunsmoke Cologne” and it sounded like Mr. “Hate Me Now” himself. And why couldn’t it be? The entire industry could be in on it. There’s drones in the sky outside your house. Chemtrails glow amber and smoky over midwestern skies. Texas still categorically denies global warming. The NSA is definitely reading Stray Shots as well as collecting your sexts, tweets, and nudes. With all the misinformation out there, who’s to say some clever social media upstart hasn’t created Rap’s latest Hardy Boys mystery?

Then there’s the music itself. In much the same way Action Bronson sounded very similar to Ghostface Killah when he first jumped on everyone’s radar, Your Old Droog’s supposedly careful examination and copying of Nasty Nas’s style is probably a clever bid to be recognized. Even if he is some separate New York soul, the quality of the mixtape is real. It ain’t the lost Lost Tapes or anything, but it’s intriguing. The guy can definitely rap. And even though he spits poetic about a lifestyle that is becoming increasingly less dominant in mid 2010’s Brooklyn, the supposed Coney Islander might be on to something if the supposed non-Nas can carve his own style out of the image of the God emcee. What it might be, however, is anyone’s guess. The 90s were 20 years ago. That music, tied to that time period is at least a decade ago past in Hip Hop favor. For all its nostalgia, you often feel like you’re playing some video game set in the not too distant past. I get it, though. The ‘90s were the last decade with a definable “style.” That aughts were a mishmash of thoughts heaped on to each other. The current decade is turning out to be the same. Maybe the real rub of hearing a style revisited is finally coming to grips with the “share” age. There is no “style,” anymore. Too specific. Too regional. Too ‘90s.

Omar: G-Unit is back together…sort of. We’re patiently awaiting when Cam’ron and Jim Jones will go ahead and form Harlem’s version of Voltron by reuniting the Diplomats. To me, it all highlights the thirst for someone to (wait for it…) bring back New York. And Your Old Droog fits nicely into that desire to see the style of ‘90s Hip Hop popularized by Empire State. We’re a few months removed from the 20-year anniversary of Illmatic, and Droog damn sure sounds like he graduated from the University of Nasir Jones. You’ve got the internal rhyme patterns and the mix of hardcore, street subject matter with some Five-Percenter lessons sprinkled in too. After hearing “Gunsmoke Cologne,” I too wanted to drink the Kool-Aid and believe we stumbled upon another batch of Nas’ lost tapes. But the myth has been debunked and Nas is not Droog. The South is still Hip Hop’s dominant region, and it’s unclear if the constantly evolving economics of the music industry, fans and gatekeeper’s collective greed or New Yorkers themselves really want the return of intricately wordy, metaphor-filled rhymes over sample-based production. In the meantime, I’m interested to see if Droog has material that doesn’t sound like Nas, because I think he has all the raw ingredients of a dope emcee.

Omar Burgess is a Long Beach, California native who has contributed to various magazines, newspapers and has been an editor at HipHopDX since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @omarburgess.

Andre Grant is an NYC native turned L.A. transplant who’s contributed to a few different properties on the web and is now the Senior Features Writer for HipHopDX. He’s also trying to live it to the limit and love it a lot. Follow him on Twitter @drejones.

26 Comments

  • flyestmesakinalive

    i really really, really wanted this to be nas but the more i listen to it the more i am convinced that its not. dude is cold no doubt but some aspects of the content and at times his flow leads me away from believing this is nas. with that said though i will consider myself a droog fan, a russian dude though? wow

  • nasty nigga fan

    This is nas change the pitch you can hear it in his voice plus on the song bad to the bone he says that other rapper just another king I had to dethrone. If a new artist what king in what battle he had to dethrone. He clearly leaves clues to who he is. Its nas if not you got me but it's worth listening to.

  • TaZzZ

    I dont understand how people can listen to this entire project and think it is Nasty I've listened to it a good twenty times and there is no fucking way, the dude is just incredibly talented and has a similar voice. It's not like Nas' voice is all that distinct, there are billions of people in this world, someone is bound to sound "like" someone else. But to tell you the truth, I don't think Nas has it in him to sound this hungry and rough around the edges, not to mention the content doesn't really match Nas' personality. Why can't we just judge this on its own merits? Its an incredible tape regardless of who made it or what year it comes out in Who gives a fuck if people wanna sound 90's or 80's or 2000's. As long as you bring me that dope, I could give a fuck who or what you sound like. Not to mention I don't see all that much similarity between the two after listening to it so many times. Yes, the pitch corrected version is pretty convincing, but sound technology can do some amazing things. I'm sure a talented engineer could make me sound like Hov if he wanted to, doesn't mean I'm his alter ego or whatever y'all muthafuckas tryna claim. Give Droog his credit, this shit is ill

    • Thank you!

      Finally someone else with some brains on this site, starting to think I was the only one. First off its not Nas and secondly why can't people actually appreciate greatness for what it is. This is a dope mix tape and no one is even talking about that it's all is he Nas or not. Come on people y do we always have to compare greats it's like the Jordan vs Lebron debate we all know jordan was the all time greatest there will never be another. Y can't Jordan be Jordan and Lebron be Lebron, that's so stupid no two people are exactly the same not even identical twins that's the beauty of life were all different were all human beings not robots!

  • authorizedealer

    Truthfully, If it isn't Nas or if it is, I love what this is doing for hip hop. I'm personally siding with those who think it is him. But either way, the mysterious nature and compelling release is creating a interest, buzz and gaining props by the second....Sort of reminiscent of Captain Murphy, Dr. Octagon, MF Doom. I say just go with it. Its dope lyrics and beats, what more can we ask for? If Nas is behind this, it's sheer genius.

  • Gravaton

    It isn't Nas go to Youtube and type in Dj Skizz and Droog that track is solid proof IT ISN'T NAS...

  • It's not Nas

    He's not Nas just a Nas clone. U can't tell the difference get your ears checked and go back to school. Nas is way more lyrical and complex, this is like a dumbed down Nas stripped of the constant use of the n word

  • Anonymous

    I DON'T SELL DRUGS if i had to choose between telling you how great my music is or drinking and driving with a big booty ho blowing me on the freeway i would definitely choose option 2 but since im just trying to trick you into checking out my music i must warn you that most of my videos were filmed with the finest Idaho potatoes but the songs are phenomenal don't judge me +NRG over 2million views and counting over @calicashflo

  • Heffe Chico

    This is NAS.... You are not a fan of Nas or under 35 to believe this is not Nas.. No Russian from Brooklyn is Gonna Speak "NGE" Lessons on an Album or speak the "Dun Language"... This is a attempt to see if Nasty Nas is still warranted in the Streets. Nas always said if he could go back he would do the Ghostface speil. Listen to the Whole Album NO BROOKLYN DUDE WOULD SAY THE THINGS this RAPPER SAY ABOUT QUEENS!! and NO WHITE RUSSIAN WOULD EVER EVER EVER SPEAK THE LESSONS of THE FATHER & NGE!!!Stop skimming through music get off the Blogs,and actual take part in what the culture of HIP HOP and you will hear NASIR JONES I could even tell u what year he made this. By his choice of slang. ITS NAS PEOPLE.. You can tell the difference between Action Bronson & Ghost Rhyme pattern and word selection is waaaaaaaaay different. Your Old Droog is Unreleased Lost Tapes. they wanted out but didnt want it coming back to NAS as having leaked it... It's NASIR though

    • Naw bro u wrong

      U guys need a cat scan if u really think this is Nas. Yea nas has characters with different voices before, on HIS albums not some secret alter ego entire album thats so ridiculous. Although The voice does sound like a deep voiced Nas it's not, I see the comparison he does rhyme the same way and uses a lot of the same lingo and references but it's not Nas, listen to the hooks, Nas has had some bad hooks but these are no way the work of Nas, "bad to the bad to the bone" come on really? And as far as the 5 percent nation of gods and earths, believe it or not there are plenty of white 5 percenters, as crazy as that sounds

    • That's because

      It's not Nas u idiot, it's already been confirmed by multiple sources not he said she said

    • Justin Hunte

      It wouldn't be out of character for Nasir to do something like this. A similar scenario played out with "Sekou Story" and "Live Now" off Street's Disciple. I honestly hope it's Nas.

    • kyle

      PREACH!!! Thank you Jefe. It's a joke that this new Nas EP has gotten so little coverage on this site.

  • insanemacbeth

    i heard two barZ offa the OLD DROOG ting....it's NAS. s.m.h!!!

  • Anonymous

    Dude under me is right

  • Anonymous

    I bet this Droog cat is white and they want to make sure to get us all onboard before he is unveiled...

    • For real

      He is white. Notice who he never uses the n word. Notice how droog is a Russian word. Notice how in his picture he has a beard, on the track rhyme strange he raps about keeping his beard shaped up, nas doesn't have and never had a beard

  • Hov

    Can't y'all see that he's fake, the rap version of T.D. Jakes Prophesizing on your CDs and tapes Won't break you a crumb of the little bit that he makes And this is with whom you want to place your faith I put dollars on mine, ask Columbine When the Twin Towers dropped, I was the first in line Donating proceeds off every ticket sold When I was out on the road, that's how you judge Hov, no? Ain't I supposed to be absorbed in myself? Every time there's a tragedy, I'm the first one to help They call me this misogynist, but they don't call me the dude To take his dollars to give gifts at the projects These dudes is all politics, depositing checks They put in they pocket, all you get in return is a lot of lip And y'all buy the shit, caught up in the hype Cause the nigga wear a kufi, it don't mean that he bright Cause you don't understand him, it don't mean that he nice It just means you don't understand all the bullshit that he write Is it "Oochie Wally Wally" or is it "One Mic"? Is it "Black Girl Lost" or shorty owe you for ice?

  • axnjaxn420

    I meant God's son not the God MC

  • axnjaxn420

    Definitely expected more from DX on the new Nas EP--- It's embarrassing that anyone claiming to be a hip hop journalist could perpetuate the obvious falsehood that Droog is a "coney-island MC" and not the God MC. To even cite to the Complex article by Dharmic and the one by Nah Right is laughable. In both of those pieces, which claim that Nas is not Droog, the authors only say they met a kid claiming to be Droog. They never say they heard him rhyme, or put him on the air and saw him rhyme. There is zero video of this supposed 24 year old white kid that rhymes EXACTLY like Esco -- and I mean with a command of words that only man on this planet is capable of. How does anyone explain how a kid trying to get on has no social media, no videos on youtube, (except one by "imaginary droog" that is only audio and sounds very different from the new EP), no buzz, nothing. He basically appeared out of thin air and dropped a record that is arguably the best album of the last ten years. Not to mention that Nas has a history of changing his voice and rhyming in other personas, a la "Scarlett" on Sekou Story when he rhymes like a female emcee. I'm dissappointed not only that DX has not given this album its rightful due, as its better than everything else posted on this site, but that it could pretend that its honest journalism to say Droog may not be Nas. Mass Appeal itself, of which Nas is an executive producer, posted on twitter something like, "check out Your New Droog, is it NaS? decide for yourself." Either the writers at DX are in on this bullshit with complex, or you really just aren't true head and certainly aren't true Nasir fans to think that a 24 year old could pull of something that only a man 25+ years in the game and with an absolute mastery of the art form could pull of. Its like saying a 5 year old with no formal training could paint a picasso as good as picasso. Fucking pathetic.

    • Wake up people

      Its def not the god mc, the god mc is rakim, it's not gods son (Nas) either tho

    • Lol

      Its not Nas it's all a hoax. He had been on multiple social media as imaginary droog and had a YouTube channel called grandma on drums with videos of the droog rapping and making beats. But it all got taken down recently, coincidence?

    • THE TRUTH

      I agree with everything you said Its easily Nas... he made it too obvious with his lyrics all through out this tape and for the dumb ass idiots that think its not Nas? ya'll should go kill yourself I have more reasons to prove its Nas than you do in proving its not Nas ... lol I mean whats your proof on why its not Nas???? complex, nahright? that one video thats on youtube? that guy that says he met him? hmmm did you meet him? So why do you believe anything another guy says? lol Did you see him freestyle? did you download his early work from datpiff? What shows has he peformed? do you know one of his featured guest? No instagram ? how is that when he says in the song (good times) he followed his girl crush instagram to see more pics lol Define Alter Ego google it? ok? and then look yourself in the mirror and shake your head on how easily Nas fooled you all Now the Obvious Sounds like him lyrics are brilliant beat selection is similar and its impossible to be this talented and seek no credit or attention from it Didnt think Nas fans were this stupid , and even Action Bronson doesn't have the same mannerisms to actually make you believe they were the same person. Only one Nas, and this Ep is very Dope from him, wish his real fans would show respect instead of doubting Art.

    • Shut up bro

      bruh shut up, it ain't nas.

  • fantom0332

    I give props to droog. this is an ILL tape.. He gave me what I wanted from Nas. He's onto something with this one. The production is perfect, his flow is perfect. More of an homage than a mimic IMO..