Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Nas, I’ve got the hip-hop blue balls again.
Mr. Nassir Jones is at again, and I’m fucking tired of his crap. He is once again, baiting the public with a controversial album title, much like 2006’s Hip Hop Is Dead. The difference is that this time, his album’s title carried with it a valid and intriguing message, unlike Hip Hop Is Dead, which is a straight up unfounded assertion. Hip-hop is not dead, and neither is the conception of Nigger in America.
When the announcement came that his new album would be titled “NIGGER”, that’s right, hard ER, I thought, this is a solid idea, forcing people to truly confront, arguably the most important and significant word in our American cultural lexicon. This could really create a constructive discourse regarding race in America. Nas would not only force confrontation, but appeared to be arguing that despite a lot of hard fought change, African Americans, are in many respects still viewed, treated as, and even possess a self-conception of “NIGGER”. Initially, it appeared that Nas was not going to back down, Def Jam got behind him, and as the weeks passed, the album’s title remained constant. But Nas ended up being quite the cock tease, finally backing down, and changing the album’s title to the simply self-titled Nas. I’ve fucked with Nas for a while now (Since “Hate Me Now“, I‘m not gonna act like I was heavy in the streets with Illmatic when I was 11 years old), and it’s easy for me to say “shame on you Nas”, for not following through, with what I believe is a great idea. Conversely, I am just getting tired of Nas’ bullshit. He wields so much power, has one of the largest platforms to shout from, and seems to “get it”, but can’t seem to pull off the execution, and really perform some sort of generative work. His influence and position as elder statesmen of hip-hop is going to waste.
Now, one could argue that Nas accomplished his goal by generating public discussion and discourse regarding the title “Nigger”, which is somewhat valid. Despite this, not completely following through was quite the bitch move, you’ve gotta close it out, bro. Nas isn’t starving in the streets, he can live without the sales in Wal Mart and Target, and fuck what Jesse Jackson thinks.
In, what appears to be a consolatory move on Nassir’s part, he is planning to release the Nigger Mixtape with DJ Green Lantern.
This is simply too little, too late. Additionally, this mixtape is only going to get into the hands of internet nerds and hardcore heads, like myself. Nas will essentially by preaching to the quire with this one. Your average Nah Right reader gets it, a kid that actually still buys CDs at Wal Mart, probably does not.
With all the hype and anticipation surrounding this album, I am a little worried for Nas. I doubt this is going to be the 5 mic classic Nas is purporting it to be. Nas is in a difficult position, if this album is less than great it will be considered a flop by myself and many of my fellow hip-hop heads. How much longer will Illmatic, an album that dropped when I was 9 years old, afford Nas this legacy status in hip-hop in which he can do no wrong? Andre 3000 recently rapped about how “they got me out here Brett Favrein’”, but I think Nas is starting to look more like hip-hop’s Brett Favre, holding the true heads hostage with bullshit.
Let’s hope the album formally called Nigger is a gem, for hip-hop, and Nas’ sake.