HTML tutorial

Black Music Month: Nas - Untitled

"Minstrel shows, from gold to shackles and back to gold, we act like we home, matter of fact - we are home, bad attitudes, octoroon skin tones, slave food turned to soul food, collards to neck bones, Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag, bet she had a nigga with her to help her old ass!"

Untitled is the ninth album from Nas and one of the most controversial albums in the history of hip hop. The album was originally going to be called Nigger but backlash from senators, the media, other rappers, label executives, threats of boycotts nd countless others the album name was changed to Untitled. However, many stores still refused to sell the album because the new cover featured the letter N in the style whipp scars.

In 2007 Nas was completely serious about naming his album Nigger. The NAACP had just held a funeral for the word Nigga, Bill O'Reilly and Oprah were both waging war on Hip Hop, most notably having Ludacris' Pepsi sponsorship pulled and most importantly President Obama had just started his campaign to be president. There were plenty of people backing the album title inside in out the rap community, including then president of Def Jam, Jay Z and Chairman LA Reid as well as a slew of rappers and radio host. Will Smith, Oprah, Bill O'Reilly, the entire NAACP, Jesse Jackson and even 50 Cent spoke out against Nas, but he still would not budge. Then things got even messier. Congressman Hakeem Jeffries demanded New York withdraw money paid into the retirement pensions of Universal staff. Then LA Reid received calls from both the White House and another Congress member. In addition stores stated they would boycott physical sales of the album if the name was not changed. In the end Nas changed the name of the album to Untitled but stated people would always know the real name of the album, however it's simply titled Nas on iTunes and some other digital stores. Even after the name change some stores still refused to sell copies of the album which lead to poor initial sales, but it eventually rose to the number one and stayed there for over a month.

With the exception of the two singles the album features a stripped down and minimalistic production that aims to mimic the soul sounds of albums during the Civil Rights movement. Some tracks remain hookless, instead they features excerpts from speeches from various black leader. Like Nas previous albums guests on the album are limited with only The Game and Busta Rhymes actually having verses on the album, other guests either sing hooks, read poetry or speak throughout the album.

The album opens with "Queens Get The Money," a track produced by Jay Electronica that is void of any drums and features just one Nas verse that runs the length of the track similar to some of his earliest work. In contrast to the rest of the album this track features an angry Nas flow that attacks many targets inside of hip hop. He takes aim at Republican presidential candidates who were promising war. One person that received a diss that remains relevant is 50 Cent who had been baiting Nas for years stating he had been washed up for decades. Nas states that 50 got rich but dyed rhyming stating he had sold out and brought up the fact that he should have retired after Kanye West outsold him. Nas finishes this track by promising it will be the pinnacle of his discography stating "I'm the shaky hand that touched George Foreman in Zaire, the same hand that punched down devils that brought down the towers."

"You Can't Stop Us Now," serves as the true beginning to the album. The first half of the first verse list a ton of great black people and all the things black people have accomplished throughout the years and how we're still "so called coons, shines, and darkies." The second half of the verse goes on to cover all of the things we survived. He makes time to thank "forgotten men who did get killed," for all those whose names have been lost in time to lynchings, as well as "Crispus Attucks, the first blasted." He continues to discuss actions of hate groups like the KKK and many others but one really important part of the first verse is this "we act like we home, matter of fact, we are home." Every day some racist tells black people to go back to where we came from. The thing is America is our home. Black people built this country over centuries with forced and free labor that still leaves lasting effects of systematic racism and oppression over two hundred years after it's founding. Most Black Americans have never even set foot in Africa so when you tell us go home, we are home. People like to act like this isn't our country too. We're here for the long haul. The hook features the lyrics "no matter how, hard you try, you can't stop, us now," symbolizing the fact that it's too late to get rid of black people, we're here, we're going to stay and keep accomplishing things. It also features Eban Thomas of The Last Poets quoting author James Baldwin with "you can only be destroyed by believing you really are what the white world considers a nigga."

The second verse opens with Nas stating the hypocrisy in the unfair sentencing of blacks. He also takes aim at PETA "Better yet ask PETA, whoever which animal makes suede, if not for suede would you have survived the Dark Ages, cannibal ways of the ancient Caucasians, stare you like you're steak tartar and pinot noir." This may seem out of place but believe it or not PETA has done a lot and continues to do a lot of racist things, most featuring the KKK. One example was holding a "fake" KKK rally to protest a dog show. They also released several KKK styled ads as well as a KKK commercial. The line about looking at blacks at steak goes back to earlier in the verse where Nas talks about the predatory sentencing of blacks. Being predators they see us as prey, we're steak to them and it only make sense because of their history with cannibalism. The second to last bar of Nas verse is "now we getting our papers, they try to censor the words." I'll point out some big moments later but beyond just hip hop, or the name of this album, there's a ton of things censored on every version of the album.

The track "Breathe," starts with "in America you'll never be free, middle fingers up, fuck the police, damn, can't a nigga just breathe?" The idea is that there is no freedom for black people in America no matter what. There's the police and judicial system as a whole that keep us locked up, mostly for non violent offenses due to former President Bill Clinton's three strike policy. The first verse covers Nas as he is now, wealthy. He's wealthy but still can't get free from the issues that plagued him when he was poor. Back in 2005 police attempted to arrest Nas for simply being Nas but couldn't find a reason to charge him. His wife at the time Kelis rushed over wanting to know why he was in handcuffs and she was arrested for resisting arrest while Nas was free to go with no information of what jail she was in. The second verse tells the story of someone who isn't as rich as Nas but still can't breathe free. They're trapped in the hood with two options "pennies on a pension or penitentiary bound."A lot of the people in the black community are underpaid with some forced to turn to crime to survive which of course leads to prison, but these are the only two options. Poor or rich either way black people are not free to just breathe in America.

The track "Make The World Go Round," is on the album simply as a single so the album has radio play and no matter how good it is, that never happened. The track features one of the earliest examples of censorship on the album. The blackest thing on the track is Nas' reference to Alex Pushkin, a black Russian poet. The album never made the radio because of The Game's verse. Shortly before the album was released Tom Cruise threatened a lawsuit because Game stated "Top Gun, Tom Cruise tucked inside my Gucci linen no homo." To avoid a lawsuit every version of the album had the word "homo" censored and the song could not be played on the radio. Tom Cruise went on to sue other rappers like Lil Wayne and Fabolos as well as several magazines, news sites and media outlets for suggesting or even pondering he may be gay. I'll probably get sued for mentioning this. Sadly Tom Cruise is not the only person to threaten Nas with a lawsuit over this album. In fact the next track on the album and first official single also got the censorship treatment.

"Hero," has Nas viewing himself as the hero of rap with. He states "hate him or love him for the same reason, can't leave it, the game needs him." Nas is a polarizing character in hip hop with most listeners and rappers either loving him or hating but everyone acknowledges and respects him. He goes on to state "they looking for a hero, I guess that makes me a hero," because after saying hip hop is dead he feels he needs to save it. That's just some insight into how Nas views himself in the chorus, but the song goes deeper. The first two verses has Nas viewing himself as the hero of hip hop. Then the third verse which he added later addresses some issues with the album, racism and music in general:
"This universal apartheid, I'm hog-tied, the corporate side, blocking y'all from going to stores and buying it, first L.A. and Doug Morris was riding with it, but Newsweek article startled big wigs, they said Nas why is he trying it, my lawyers only see the Billboard charts as winning, forgetting Nas the only true rebel since the beginning, still in musical prison, in jail for the flow, try telling Bob Dylan, Bruce, or Billy Joel they can't sing what's in their soul, so Untitled it is, I never changed nothing, but people remember this, if Nas can't say it, think about these talented kids, with new ideas being told what they can and can't spit, I can't sit and watch it, so shit, I'mma drop it, like it or not, you ain't gotta cop it, I'm a hustler in the studio, cups of Don Julio no matter what the CD called, I'm unbeatable y'all" 
He starts the third verse with comparing Universal, the parent company of Def Jam, to South African Apartheid where the white minority remained in power through brutal and racist policies that lead to the deaths of thousands of blacks, hinting at the white executives at Universal are killing black music. He follows that up addressing stores that still wouldn't sell the album after the title change. Then he takes aim at L.A. Reid, the chairman of Def Jam that initially backed him up but changed his mind after the backlash. The thing about that section is Doug Moris the current CEO and Chairman of Sony Music who was the CEO and Chairman at Universal also threatened Nas to remove his name. Thus Doug Morris name is also censored on all versions of the album. Nas states that even after all these years he's still in musical prison and being censored but white artist like Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel can say and do whatever they want. It's not just old white guys either, Foster The People released a song called "Pumped Up Kicks," that saw endless radio plays, but it was about shooting kids at the mall. He promises that he wasn't the one who changed the album title and wonders if he's being censored this much how much the younger generation of rappers is. Nas has also made enough money that he doesn't care if people are upset and don't buy the album, he'll still win. The third verse is a serious contrast to the rest of the song and you can tell that it might have been added by the contrasting aggressive delivery.

The first verse of "America," features Nas thinking about his transition from criminal to rapper. It culminates with an interaction between him and an old German man "this old german said I was a thug with a notty head, ooked at my benz and called that a Nazi sled," Nas starts thinking about how racism in America is almost no different than Nazi Germany. The chorus features Nas stating "America, pay attention, wake up, this is not what you think it is." From the second verse on he starts looking at some of the less glorious moments in America's history, meaning all of America's history as well as the hypocrisy of racism. An important moment comes from "The hypocrisy is all I can see, white cop acquitted for murder black cop cop a plea, that type of shit make me stop and think, we in chronic need of a second look of the law books, and the whole race dichotomy." Nas is watching two police officers on trial for the same crime. Instead of both being punished like regular criminals the black officer gets a plea deal and even worse the white cop gets to just walk away. It's not fair in the sense that the black officer gets a plea but it's really not fair the white cop goes unpunished.

The Talented Tenth is an idea from W. E. B. Du Bois where he theorizes that the only way that Black Americans would be able to fully overcome racism is if a tenth of our population became leaders through education and specialized fields such as doctors and lawyers. This idea received credibility from others such as Booker T. Washington. In the song "America," Nas states "too many rappers athletes and actors, but not enough niggas in NASA." While Nas may not believe in the Talented Tenth it's clear that he agrees we should focus more on fields that require more education. He goes on to state "assassinations diplomatic relations, killed indigenous people built a new nation." This covers the fact that two things America does well is back door diplomatic relations as well as assassinations. America is also a country built on the graves of over ten million Native Americans who died in the genocide known as Manifest Destiny.

Nas goes on to discuss how black women were the people who suffered most in slavery with "involuntary labor then took a knife split a woman naval, took her premature baby let her man see you rape her." Black women were raped, taken from their children as well as endure the same treatment men did. He later goes on to ponder how there are still racist women "y'all don't treat women fair she read about herself in the Bible, believing she the reason sin is here, you played her with an apron like bring me my dinner dear, she's the 'nigger' here." With slavery gone white women have taken to doing the chores around the house, in other words they're slaves now, the niggers here. Nas doesn't understand how white women can be racist when they're in the same position which is a question people often ask about white feminist. He goes on to point out how people killed by the death penalty keep getting younger "death penalty in Texas kill young boys and girls, barbarity," while America likes to hold itself up as the world super power Nas ponders "how far we really from third world savagery?" Nas only idea of a solution is to destroy the covenant before it became the Constitution "if I could travel to the 1700's I'd push a wheelbarrow full of dynamite through your covenant."

"Sly Fox," is Nas way at snapping back against the smear campaign Fox ran against him. After the Virginia Tech shooting a memorial concert and fund raiser was planned and students voted on who they wanted to perform. Nas was selected and Fox News, especially Bill O'Reilly brought up the fact that he had been arrested for possessing an unregistered gun as a minor, something they shouldn't have been able to find out. They then went on to select random bars and hooks from his music without placing them in context and stating hip hop was the real problem in Black America. Nas still did the concert and delivered over 6000 signatures on his petition to Fox News headquarters asking them to shut down. They did not allow him in the building so he left the crates in front of their doors. During his press conference in front of their offices he brought up their near constant racism citing examples where they stated Michelle Obama was going to bring "baby momma drama" to the white house and then candidate Barack Obama was using terrorist hand signals by performing fist bumps.

He states "They monopolizing news, your views and the channel you choose, propaganda, visual cancer." Fox News is just one thing owned by News Corp, others include MySpace, The Dow Jones, The New York Times and The Wallstreet Journal as well as countless others in America and other countries. They don't have a monopoly on news media, but they have a really really big chunk. They own majority of the media and talk about the bias and hate towards Republicans but majority of news media is owned and operated by the same Republican, Rupert Murdoch. It's propaganda. After Bill O'Reilly threatened Nas, he returned fire with a threat of his own"The Fear Factor got you all riled up O'Reilly, oh really, no rally needed, I'll tie you up."

The third verse starts with the true question of the song "they say I'm all about murder murder and kill kill, but what about Grindhouse and Kill Bill? What about Cheney and Halliburton? The back door deals on oil fields? How is Nas the most violent person?" Fox News holds up guys like Cheney and Halliburton as conservative heroes yet they profit off international wars where thousands die. There's also extreamly violent moves that News Corp helps fund and promote, so why is Nas the most violent. Well that's simple "only fox that I loved was the Red one, only black man that Fox love is in jail or a dead one." Nas also states that he will "I use Viacom as my firearm." While News Corp is huge Viacom has a segment they don't. Viacom owns BET, MTV, VH1, Comedy Central and several others. Nas did indeed use Viacom against Fox. While everyone threatened him with boycotts for his album he was invited to perform for the BET Awards and appear on The Daily Show in the same week.

The song "Testify," has Nas taking on a role of an American murderer with a twist. We glorify people as patriots because they kill for their country. Nas also kills for his country in this song but instead of killing people from other countries he wants to "send these redneck bigots to some death in a bag
Choke him out with his confederate flag.
" He states people shouldn't even claim to be fans of his if they aren't willing to testify on his behalf when he goes to jail for hit.

"N.I.G.G.E.R. (The Slave And The Master)," is a track where Nas tackles the fact that black people have become slaves to themselves, specifically stereotypes. He also discuss the use of the word nigga or nigger. The hook promises that "we are much more, still we choose to ignore the obvious, man this history don't acknowledge us we were scholars long before colleges," as well as "still we choose to ignore the obvious, we are the slave and the master, what you looking for? You the question and the answer." He alludes to the fact that black people are not savages who needed to be educated by a white savior as there were already black colleges in places like Timbuktu. Despite ancient colleges blacks now struggle to get a decent education because of "schools with outdated books, we are the forgotten." He continues to point out how strong we are as black people as well as pointing out the ghetto ingenuity of things like dying hair with Kool-Aid. Second verse has Nas tackling the issue of if the word should even be said. "Do I mean it like a slave master, nigger? No I'm gangsta, gotta eat rappers." Besides the clever acronym Nas goes on to state he's not using the word from a place of hate like slave masters. He goes on to state "they used to string us up," again pointing out he doesn't use the word the same as someone who lynched black people. Another really critical point he makes in this track is "cause anytime we mention our condition, our history or existence, they calling it reverse racism." Reverse racism is fictional just like the idea of a race baiter. It's used to try to silence people who speak out against racism. You can't yell reverse racism every time a white persons feelings are hurt because someone mentions racism.

The tenth track on the album is called "Untitled," not because it's the titled track of the album, but because Nas once again refused to change the name. The original name for this track was "Louis Farrakhan." The track has Nas seeing himself as a revolutionary and one who will have a long life, like Farrakhan, one of the few world wide who didn't die. Nas feels he's a revolutionary because "I'm deadly now because of one reason, they listening." Nas has spent his entire career rapping pro-black issues and people are listening and waking up to his music. He thinks he'll go on trial and "then they'll use one of my lines just to prove I'm guilty," again alluding at Fox News taking his lyrics out of context and the fact that rap music is being used to sentence people to jail now. Kanye West coined the term crack music, the idea that rap music was addictive. Nas plays on this idea with "giving you this crack like Pookie, to question the system, be the resistance." Nas is also serving crack music to get you addicted like Pookie, the crack head from the film New Jack City, except Nas makes you question authority.

"Fried Chicken," features Nas and Busta Rhmes rapping about chicken and soul food in general in an amazing way. The song is one continuous verse with Nas starting and Busta finishing but it maintains a solid train of thought throughout. The song starts with Nas explaining his love of chicken and how soul food comes from slavery but soul food has become a delicacy. He continues recognizing the health effects that too much soul food can have on you. Busta continues about how he loves it until he reaches the peak where he promises he'll keep eating it until he dies and continuously ups the danger level still promising to eat it until he finishes the song speaking "ain't that some shit, I'm a eat some shit until what I'm eating kills me, and I choose to do that, why? Cause that's just what niggas do." The song features them rapping about chicken as if it were a woman and you can stop there with the metaphors, but that would be dumb. It's a song about how black people continue to do things we know are wrong, but we do it because that's what niggas do. Soul food is bad for us but we keep eating it and selling it does bring money and power with million dollar soul food businesses across the country. We sell and use drugs but we know it's bad. We can't help but do things we've been told are wrong because that's what niggas do.

The track "Project Roach" starts with Eban Thomas again. This time he states:

"It is absolutely silly, and unproductive to have a funeral for the word "nigger" when the actions continue, we need to have a movement to resurrect brothers, and sisters, not a funeral for niggers, cause niggers don't die."

The song compares black people to roaches, in a loving way. No matter how hard people try to get rid of us, we just keep coming back and multiplying. People fear us but we're all over the country. No matter where you hide there are black people now. He finishes up with "but yo, we everywhere, check your house good, I bet we there." You may not have a literal black person in your house but you probably have an album from a black person, a movie with a black person, a newspaper with an article from a black person etc. We're everywhere.

"Y'all My Niggas," was a third unofficial single for the album released by Nas himself with a video he financed personally. Nas breaks down the meaning of the word to it's base and justifies the usage. He states "So what if my pants sag with my hat turned back, the same swag got our merchandise flying off the rack, marketing companies is hiring blacks, fresh hip-hop lingo for your campaign ads." While Nas stands against stereotypes on the album he makes it clear that our swag as black people is popular and always has been. People try to copy it and we get paid from it. You see it every day on Twitter where some company has hired a black person to tweet for them so they can connect with an "urban base." He goes on to state "controversy surrounds who could say it and when, some niggas are full time, some playing pretend, so fuck that, no apologies on the issue, if it offends you it's meant to, it's that simple." Let's look at a recent example. Don Lemon thinks no one should use the word. He is a nigga playing playing pretend. Don Lemon is the same guy who did reports on hospitals in Chicago not treating gun shot wounds in black neighborhoods. Now he's telling us to pull up our pants and don't say the word nigga while asking why the confederate flag offends people. Nas has no sympathy for those who play both sides of the fence for publicity. If the word offends you, it's meant to. It's gone from one of the most hate filled words in history to nothing but a word uses between comrades, friends and homies. You can't erase the word because as Nas states "trying to erase me from y'all memory, too late, I'm engraved in history," and it is. Remember they changed the word "nigga" to "slave," in Huckleberry Finn so children didn't learn the bad word? Guess what, they still learned it.

Nas loves when black people use it in public because it makes white people uncomfortable. "Cause y'all use my name so reckless, whether to be accepted or disrespected and I love it, especially when y'all do it in public, and I'm the subject, cause y'all my niggas." Like it or not the word is here to stay. Even if it's used to degrade black people, you're using the word in public and now people are thinking about it. Nas continues with the rhetorical questions and sarcastic statements like "Yo, I was thinkin' a little bit, what would it take to authenticate my nigganess? Ball ridiculous? 26 inches when I call up the dealership? Aww that's some nigga shit." Here Nas is throwing out stereotypes. Not only that he throws away the idea of placing a priority on material possessions in general. He continues his line of questioning asking are we what racist think we are "we only out for our own benefit? We havin' too many kids? We Claudines? Welfare recipients?" He's not asking why we do these things he's poking fun at the idea that people think that's all niggas do. We're so much more yet that's what they think we amount to.

Nas goes on to point out that young black people are profiled and arrested by police at a much higher rate "everybody bleeding, the cops are the demons, courtrooms full of goons, jail buses leaning. handcuffs squeezed too tight on youth life." The cops are the demons because they have become the bad guys, and everyone is bleeding because cops keep beating them. The jail bus is leaning because it's overcrowded like the prisons. Meanwhile handcuffs are squeezing the life out of the youth. But here's the thing "if you fight they just give in, people used to do sit ins." As long as we don't stop fighting against the issue eventually they give up and realize we aren't going anywhere. If we keep pulling down confederate flags they eventually stop putting them up. Racist just don't have the heart and strength that black people have built up over centuries of racism and hate. They can't outlast us so we just keep pushing forward.

Here's the real problem "the problem is we started thinking like the colonists," we put more value on possessions people. The colonists may have united occasionally but they hate they hated each other. They put more value on possessions and wealth than they did on people. Nas is saying that's not a black idea, we have to throw that away and unite. The most amazing thing about the word nigga or nigger is this "we changed the basis of derogatory phrases, and I say it's quite amazing, the use of ghetto terms developed out own language, no matter where it came from, it's celebrated, now people are mad if they ain't one." People are constantly on the news upset that they feel like they can't use the word nigga. In the words of Paul Mooney "White folks made up the word nigga now they get nervous when I say it. Ain't that a bitch? Well white folks, you shouldn't have made the word up." A word used by white slavers to degrade black people now makes white people nervous and that is kind of amazing. There are people who are mad if they aren't black now, in fact some are actually pretending to be black so they can fit in.

On the track "We're Not Alone," Nas calls for peace. He wants everyone to unite, not just black people, but everyone. Once again he states he doesn't see the point in racism because "America's browning, 20 years from now every town'll be brown and Latin, an African looking Manhattan." Interracial relationships and the fact that people still adhere to the one drop rule is quickly raising the population of both blacks and Latinos. There's no point in fighting when soon almost everyone will be the same color. He goes on to state that most likely there are aliens who have already visited us or are afraid to because of the way we act towards each other because he and his friends saw a UFO. Then he questions the death of Reginald Lewis one of the first black billionaires. Nas goes on to breakdown why black people place so much emphasis on appearance:
"The diamond encrusted shit, live illustrious, cause we was deprived of it, suffered, now we pop to prove anything's possible, my pimp strut was invented when they whipped us, now we diddy bop just to show you that our strength's up, just when niggas bout to see they cut, global warming about to burn us up, niggas never really seen paper in this world."
Black people have made a habit of turning bad things into good. When slaves were whipped they had trouble walking now we strut just because we can. Black people were also slaves which effectively gave other races a head start on us, we really never have been wealthy as a whole race. We buy jewelry and rims or whatever just to spend the money before it's gone. However we're reaching a point when more black people are receiving a higher education. More of us are joining well paying fields, more are becoming millionaires. We're just barely catching up to everyone else and global warming may just finish us off before we can get there. One bar can actually sum it up, that is "American Black's the teenager of this world." Like teenagers everyone looks down at us, but we're starting to figure out who we are and reach new levels.

Most of the album was recorded in 2007 but because of the controversy it wasn't released until July of 2008. Nas had time to add one more track to the album "Black President." The song features Nas fear of a black president, but for President Obama's life. He doesn't think the world is ready for a black president and fears Obama may die because of it. The album uses samples of President Obama's inauguration speech as well as a sample of Tupac stating "although it seems heaven-sent we ain't ready, to have a black president," followed by Nas stating "yes we can changed the world." Nas starts out the first verse covering all the issues black people face until he reaches the end when he states "never defeated, so a president's needed," stating that no matter what, black people never gave in so it's time for a black president. Then he goes on to state "you know these colored folks and negros hate to see one of their own succeeding," a reference to the fact that some black people are like crabs in a barrel and will pull another person down to reach the top. This is a reference to people like Jesse Jackson who wanted to "cut his nuts off," as well as people like Cornell West who profit solely on taking shots at the president while discussing no political issues. Nas expresses his shock with President Obama's win as "America surprised us and let a black man guide us." The second verse continues with Nas fear of Obama losing his life:
"What's the black pres thinking on election night? Is it: "How can I protect my life? Protect my wife? Protect my rights?" Every other president was nothing less than white, except Thomas Jefferson had mixed Indian blood.. and Calvin Coolidge, KKK is like: "What the fuck?!", loading their guns up, loading up mine too, ready to ride cause I'm riding with my crew - he dies, we die too, yeah, but on the positive side I think Obama provides hope and challenges minds, of all races and colors to erase the hate, and try to love one another."
Nas fears some hate group will kill the president in which case a civil war will start and he's willing to die for that. For the record Calvin Coolidge was 1/4 Native American because of his mother but the Thomas Jefferson fact was never proven. Nas hopes that Obama could usher in a new way of thinking that would cause us to put racism aside, sadly he was wrong, but it was a nice hope.

The third verse takes aim at those who dislike Obama. He argues that Jeremiah Wright purposely tried to sabotage Obama's campaign. He goes on to call Jesse Jackson an Uncle Tom but praises those like Nelson Mandela. He also states that Obama is the new and improved version of President John F. Kennedy. He goes on to state "McCain got apologies, ain't nobody hearing that," because John McCain did try to apologize to a black crowd on MLK day for standing against MLK in the 80s. John McCain is that old but Nas says people don't care because "people need honesty." President Obama would go on to be a two term president and Nas would once again state his support in 2011 on Jeezy's track "My President."

"Like Me," is a bonus track for the United Kingdom that fills the space of some tracks that were removed on that version of the album. The song makes the comparison of pimping to the NBA comparing new owners to slave masters. That's pretty funny when you consider just a few years later Donald Sterling would come out of the closet as a plantation owner. "Nigger Hatred," also known as "Proclamation," is the last track on some versions of the album. It's another track void of drums serving as a bookend to "Queens Get The Money," opening. It's a short track with nothing behind Nas except a haunting piano playing a slow tune in one key. It's just one verse where he states "I've been preparing this album my whole life, might be uncomfortable for most you listeners." This is an album where Nas dictates his entire life as a black man from young to old and it made people uncomfortable before anyone even heard it. He briefly celebrates his life with "I overcame all the opposition, my teachers told that I'd be a broken may on a cot in prison." Nas has become more successful than any of his teachers despite them stating he would be nothing more than a convict. Sadly that's an issue a lot of black students still face. He points out the "supreme Court say we still guilty," because the truth is law never has the interest of black people at hand.

Nas finishes up the album pointing out the fact that racist, police, judges and the government are all working together. He states the KKK is far from dead as people would have you believe. He also alludes to police planting drugs on innocent black people and framing them for cases. It's not farfetched when multiple police officers have been fired for being klan members this year. The judges and lawyers who sentence them wrongly do it knowingly, while their family members are politicians starting wars and recruiting black people to fight. Nas is pointing out the entire system is racist, yet they have the nerve to call him racist for this album. When they speak it's nothing but hatred in their words:
"I'd take the grave or a bid, to let some dirty clan members run up in my crib, and plant cracks on the man that's going to church, plants packs on the man that's going to work and build cases, meanwhile they daddies and they brothers is recruiting all my brothers and cousins to fill bases, the nerve of y'all to call Escobar racist, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger hatred"
Feel free to follow along with our Black Music Month Series

You can hear Darrell on the CP Time and Powerbomb Jutsu podcasts. He also plays classic arcade games on The Cabinet

Darrell S.

Hey, I write stuff, a lot of different stuff, that's all.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post
Ultra Black History