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The dreaded n-word album

Who else is hoping that Nas really does come out with an album called Nigga?

First of all, I think the new Nas album should be called Nigga because that’s what Nas wants to call it. I read just now Nah Right that LA Reid has been going around telling Fox News that if Nas really does try to pull some shit like that, he might have to put the kibosh on it. Man, what the fuck kind of bullshit is that?

It reminds me of back in the early ’90s when mad rappers were being dropped from labels behind that whole “Cop Killer” brouhaha. Kool G. Rap had an album with some dogs about to eat some white people on its cover that had to be pulled from shelves, and I believe KMD was dropped from its label before it could even release Black Bastards, which featured a sambo hanging from a noose on its cover.

Could you imagine either of those albums being released on a major label in today’s climate?

The astute observer that I am, I started calling this shit McCarthyism months ago, before there was all these congressional hearings about rap music and black agents for the cracka-ass crackas who really run the recording industry going around announcing their plans for self-censorship to the press.

Not to get all Martin Niemoller on you bitches, but, you see, that’s how it works. First they come for a black man’s right to call a woman a good for nothing beeyotch, even if she is; next thing you know, you can’t even use the dreaded n-word, even if it’s to make an insightful political statement.

Which is not to say that Nas is definitely about to make some insightful political statement. Obviously part of it is that he realized, after having released Hip-Hop Is Dead, that you can get a shiteload of free publicity just by giving your album a provocative title. And, indeed, Nigga the Album has already had its own segment on Fox News and statement from Jesse Jackson. Imagine if it’s actually released with that title.

And who knows? Even if this is all just a cynical bit of provocation on Nas’ part, it might spark a real conversation about whether or not we should be “banning” the dreaded n-word from public discourse, and whether or not it’s kosher (pardon the use of the term) for these Tall Israelis to be dictating the content of rap music in order to protect their business interests, especially if it involves the censoring of political speech.

Already, I’d say it’s served a useful purpose in that it shows how these attacks on a black man’s freedom of speech will ultimately have the effect of stifling political speech, even if the original purpose was to soothe the wounded egos of legions of aging, lonely black women.

Just like the aforementioned albums by Kool G. Rap and KMD likely would have flown under the radar had it not been for the original Bush Mengele trying to make an example out of Ice T, you have to wonder if Nigga the Album would be nearly as much of an issue if hip-hop wasn’t already under fire thanks in large part to Don Imus having the sheer balls to have an opinion on the grade of a black woman’s hair.

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