At SXSW this past week, Nas sat down with his former manager Steve Stoute for a Q & A. They discussed the 'ringtone era' of rap, in the 2000s, when Chingy was playing all over the radio, and Nas proclaimed 'Hip Hop Is Dead' on his album in 2006.

"You have to hear about guys like Chingy," Stoute asked Nas, "People like it and radio's playing it - how do you deal with that?" 

"I have to be totally honest," Nas said. "I didn't feel anything about Chingy or anybody else's success during that time. Tell you the truth, it kind of gave me some time off. Time off to not have to keep coming and coming and coming. It just balances things - you can't have everything… It is messed up for that real stuff when the pop-fluff stuff is everywhere; that does damage to things. But when you have faith in the artists that you love, you know they gonna pull through and bring something to the table."

Even before Chingy became popular, Nas had sentiments about hip hop being dead, "At some point I felt the whole thing was dead after Biggie and Pac were killed. Once I knew we'd never get a chance to see where they were headed, it just died for me for a bit there."

Read more of the interview here.