There haven't yet been any shout-outs from Jay-Z to his favourite Queensbridge MC, and Mr. Jones hasn't been seen in Manhattan's 40/40 Club sporting Rocawear gear, but the fact that Nas has released Hiphop Is Dead on Def Jam indicates that the 2005 truce between the once bitterly beefing rap royals is still holding. At the very least, their lawyers are speaking. So those looking for rep-ripping Jigga attacks from Nasty Nas won't find anything like Ether here, and don't get your hopes up about Black Republican -- Jay-Z rhymes on it. What's interesting about Hiphop Is Dead, apart from the unlikely collaboration with Black Eyed Peas' Will.i.am, is that Nas appears to have completely given up calling out his perceived enemies and has even taken some of Jay-Z's criticisms to heart, dropping those characteristically convoluted rhyme flows in favour of simpler and more direct statements. Similarly, the production is stripped down to the basic essentials of heavy beats with minimal sampling embellishment. This gives an old-school vibe to many of the tracks, except for the two Kanye West joints and the synth-silly one created by Chris Webber (yes, the injury-prone 76ers 'power' forward), which sound like they were added as afterthoughts. A few flashes of brilliance, but no sustained heat.