Nas’ failed opportunity
I wouldn't have watched any of the Grammys at all, but my lifestyle is such that a) I had already seen literally everything else that was on cable last night, and b) I was a bit too intoxicado to get any reading done. So I kept flipping back and forth between them and a few other things, including The Wire, which I might have to write about this week, provided nothing else interesting happens. (And obviously there's a strong likelihood of the latter.)
Unfortunately, I didn't think to tune in to any of the coverage of the red carpet that ran on some other networks, like CNN, which I guess didn't have any real news to cover. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were both interviewed on 60 Minutes, which aired on CBS right before the Grammys, and that's what I ended up watching. On the outside chance that anyone gives a shit, Obama came off better than Hillary, but neither of the interviews was particularly interesting.
So it wasn't until today that I saw that a) Nas was at the Grammys, b) him and his wife Kelis had on shirts with the dreaded n-word on them, and c) he was interviewed on the red carpet by motherfucking Joey Fatone from N'Sync, i.e. the straight one, who was reporting for CNN. If you haven't seen this shit already, you might want to check it, though I'm sure it'll be showing up on this site later on today or tomorrow, as is the case with most hip-hop-related videos.
The white girl from CNN asks Nas about his shirt and what the response to it has been so far on the red carpet. Nas responds that so far people have been surprisingly open-minded, which I took to mean that hardly anyone really gave a shit. This might not bode well for the commercial prospects for his forthcoming album, since regardless of whatever his views are, obviously his aim is to stir up some shit and hope people are confused enough to buy his album, like they did with Hip-Hop Is Dead.
What if everyone just ignores him?
Part of the problem could be that, as long as it's been since he announced that his next album would be called the dreaded n-word, he's yet to come up with a compelling enough soundbite to expand on the issue, when pressed to do so by the media. In the clip above, he launches into this whole spiel about people being discriminated against, the war in Iraq, and what have you, but it isn't necessarily clear what any of this has to do with the price of tea in China.
He also tries to tie the name of his album in with this year's historic presidential election, which is a pretty good idea, I think, marketing-wise. It's not unlike what Jay-Z tried to pull with American Gangster. Granted American Gangster performed even worse sales-wise than motherfucking Kingdom Come, but I'm pretty sure that's because no one really liked either the album or the film, which I'll admit I haven't seen. (And yet, here I am mentioning it in a post.)
My fantasy woman from CNN tries to press the little homey on who he's supporting in the election, but instead of saying Barack Obama, or Hillary Clinton, or Ron Paul, or whoever, he says which ever candidate will abolish this "thing" that will rescind black people's right to vote 23 years from now. Which must be some shit he read about in one of these BS chain emails, a la the Jena Six. I'm assuming there is no such "thing," but who knows? TPAR?
If I was Nas, I would've found some way to work Barack Obama's name into it, even if I wasn't planning to support the senator, if only because that would have meant instant publicity. The t-shirt bit alone obviously wasn't enough. I haven't even seen that shit being discussed anywhere other than a few hip-hop outlets. Meanwhile, I can just see the headlines, if there had been some Obama angle: "Rapper in 'Nigger' t-shirt endorses Barack Obama."
That shit would have been all over the place.