"Who the fuck is Margiela??" That's what most of us wondered the first time we heard The Throne's "Niggas In Paris." But Yasiin Bey (the artist formerly known as Mos Def) actually had the balls to say it! His remix of last years biggest record entitled "Niggas In Poorest" was the polar opposite of the original. Where Jay and Ye gave us a three minute look into their outlandishly extravagant lives, Yasiin reminded us how the other 99.9 percent of the planet is living.
The Paris instrumental was one of the best of 2011 and provoked freestyles from Meek Mill, Busta Rhymes, Freeway, Lambo Show, Lil Wayne, Young Jeezy, The Game, and Chris Brown just to name a few! But none came close to matching the perspective or realness displayed by Mighty Mos. He's always been unfairly labeled a "conscious rapper," but with the world in a global recession conscious maybe exactly what we need.
Kanye West is one of my favorite artist of all time, and being a rapper from Brooklyn myself, the admiration for Jay-Z goes without saying; but the disconnect between the fans and "Niggas In Paris" was colossal. We don't know who or what "Margiela" is, we do not own "rollies", and whats fifty grand to a nigga like me? More Than My Annual Salary!!!
Despite the angle taken by Yasiin on "Niggas In Poorest" it isn't a "diss record." Mos Def had a long history of collaborations with Kanye West, and was never really a confrontational MC to begin with. He simply allowed his art to reflect real life, which in this fake it til you make it industry is a rarity. Its great for Jay and Kanye to celebrate their unprecedented wealth and success, but the average fan just can't relate.
Hip hop music is most powerful when it truly resonates with the listener.
"Niggas In Paris" was undoubtedly the single of the year, but did the genre an even greater justice by creating the opportunity for such a contrasting remix. "Niggas In Poorest" is rap in its purest form. Truthful words, over a borrowed beat, spit by an exceptional lyricist. It can't get much better than that!! Don't get caught up in no Throne!
Watch the "Niggas In Poorest" video below: