Nas, I arise the dead by thousands

from Nas – Back When Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

Double Entendre…

His skill is so great that he spits shit powerful enough to raise the dead.

Zombies!

I think you could also add that the dead he’s raising is the dead rappers, both figuratively dead (like the rappers whose careers are dead that he talks about in the next line) and literally dead (like ‘Pac and Biggie). He raises the dead all the time by keeping their memories alive, being the one to “Carry on Tradition” (from Hip Hop is Dead), etc.

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