When Nas’s resurrected his career with his battle with fellow King of NY rapper JayZ. Nas’s career from that point on stayed in the midst of unpredictability and controversy. Everything thing Nas has said or done has made people either uncomfortable, offended or just flat-out mad. He has released an album titled Hip Hop Is Dead which sparked a firestorm in 2006 and made alot of his peers angry. He continued to be the Nigga ya love to hate by going even further by naming his album The Nigger album.
The criticism surrounded its album titled made alot of his handlers feel very uncomfortable.He made alot of Civil Rights activists angry and became a risk to the Def Jam label but they felt that they couldn’t just censor Nas because of his legacy and his tremendous talent.Nas responded to the controversy in his statement:
“I’m a street disciple,” Nas responded, quoting one of his earlier album titles. “I’m talking to the streets. Stay out of our business. You ain’t got no business worrying about what the word ‘nigger’ is or acting like you know what my album is about without talking to me. Whether you in the NAACP or you Jesse Jackson. I respect all of them … I just want them to know: Never fall victim to Fox. Never fall victim to the sh– they do. What they do is trying to hurry up and get you on the phone and try to get you to talk about something you might not know about yet.
“If Cornel West was making an album called Nigger, they would know he’s got something intellectual to say,” Nas continued. “To think I’m gonna say something that’s not intellectual is calling me a nigger, and to be called a nigger by Jesse Jackson and the NAACP is counterproductive, counter-revolutionary.”
Nas said he hasn’t talked to anyone outside his camp about the title, so he was upset to see that people are up in arms without knowing the story behind him choosing the name.
“I wanna make the word easy on mutha—-as’ ears,” he explained. “You see how white boys ain’t mad at ‘cracker’ ’cause it don’t have the same [sting] as ‘nigger’? I want ‘nigger’ to have less meaning [than] ‘cracker.’ With all the bullsh– that’s going on in the world, racism is at its peak. I wanna do the sh– that’s not being done. I wanna be the artist who ain’t out. I wanna make the music I wanna hear.
“We’re taking power [away] from the word,” he added. “No disrespect to none of them who were part of the civil-rights movement, but some of my n—as in the streets don’t know who [civil-rights activist] Medgar Evers was. I love Medgar Evers, but some of the n—as in the streets don’t know Medgar Evers, they know who Nas is. And to my older people who don’t now who Nas is and who don’t know what a street disciple is, stay outta this mutha—-in’ conversation. We’ll talk to you when we’re ready. Right now, we’re on a whole new movement. We’re taking power [away] from that word.”
The Circus around Nas’s album would follow throughout 2007-mid 2008 before Def Jam eventually would cave in under the pressure and make Nas change the album title from Nigger to N. But inspite of making changes along with adding weak commercial songs featuring Chris Brown and Keri Hilson(Make the World Go Round and Hero respectivly) The rest of the album doesn’t shy away from the concept of the album. You can even tell by the cover which pictured Nas with the letters N whipped on his back as if he was a runaway slave.
N remains as one of Nas’s best albums to date and an album that was definitely needed in a climate where hip hop focused on nothing but dance songs. Nas provided food of knowledge with medicine as he would remain as one of the few mainstream artists that took his power to take aim at the machine(Fox News on Sly Fox, America,) and possibly sent shivers down the spine of many of the right and scared negroes when he did a song in tribute to Obama(Black President) and NOI leader Louis Farrakhan on Untitled:
Nas continued to go and make music that went against the grain of what was put out during the rap climate. While many focused on money, sex, drugs, and hoes. Nas teamed up with Bob Marley’s talented son Damien Marley and released Distant Relatives. A great mashup of Hip Hop and Reggae:
As We Enter
Nas would release tracks here and there along with make stellar guest appearances on peoples records to further build anticipation. It sounds as if Nas is gaining his hunger back listening to Nasty, Dog Shit(With Mobb Deep) and Triple Beams Dreams with Rick Ross. The Rap Game at this point is at its driest and never before has hip hop been so boring and mediocre. Nas has the talent, the following, and the potential to bring back not only excitement but also food for thought to the table and a ability to make being a extraordinary rapper become trendy instead of being a dancer or a trap star.
SAVE US NAS!