Nas “Hey Young World (Slick Rick Cover)”

One of the many reasons why Slick Rick’s 1988 debut The Great Adventures of Slick Rick is still hailed today as a classic hip hop must-have: “Hey Young World”, the eye-patched emcee’s self-produced PSA-like request for the younger generation to, among other things, respect Mommy and Daddy (“Have you forgotten who put you on this earth…?”) and stay off the pipe (“If you smoke crack/ Your kids’ll smoke crack tomorrow”).

Even if you chose to remain ig’nant and ignore Rick’s on-point sermon, you still couldn’t deny how incredibly captivating the record was at the time, the nursery rhyme melodics embedded in those dancey synths and Rick’s sing-song cadences adding a pop-smart whiff to the tune eons before hip hop would regularly employ such Top 40-baiting tactics (see: damn near every rapper currently enjoying mainstream success).

Over twenty years (and many sampled uses of “World”) later, Nas and DJ Green Lantern have opted to cover the track (in partnership with the newly launched Levi’s Pioneer Sessions), slightly modernizing the beat with a heavy East Coast boom-bap thump while the lyrics are given a potent Nasty Nas revising (“Slow your roll before your soul ejects from your body/ And you turn cold…”).

Stay tuned for future Pioneer Sessions over the next six weeks (including brand new covers/ recordings by the likes of The Kills, She & Him and John Legend & The Roots); grab both the original version and Nas’ take (alongside another great re-interpretation of the tune from Macy Gray’s 2001 album, The Id) below.

DL: Nas “Hey Young World (Slick Rick Cover)” (alt)

BONUS DL: Slick Rick “Hey Young World” (alt)

BONUS DL: Macy Gray featuring Slick Rick “Hey Young World (Part Two)” (alt)