Something tells me this new Nas album, The Dreaded N-Word, is gonna be one of my favorite albums evar. Or, at least one of my favorite albums to think about.
If there’s gonna be an issue, it’s that it’s probably not gonna be that good. The first track leaked from it, “Be a Nigger Too,” which I’m sure you’ve all heard by now, hit the Internets this morning, and as a song, i.e. an actual piece of music, it’s not anything to write home about.
I mean, it’s alright. It reminds me of any number of Salaam Remi-produced tracks from the last several Nas albums, where, on the one hand, you were glad it wasn’t Timbaland and Ginuwine singing about tricking with these hoes; but other hand, you couldn’t help but think, “Man, I could’ve produced this shit.
Like, that song “Thief’s Theme,” which was just a wanton loop of the disco version of “Inna Gadda Da Vida” (which was subsequently rehashed for the lead single and title track from ’06′s Hip-Hop Is Dead); or “Made You Look,” which is just flip of the b-boy classic “Apache.” (Which is actually merely the “disco version” of that song as well, but I don’t want to get too deep on you fruits. Word to Edie Brickell.)
I’m not saying I actually could’ve produced either of those songs. I just like to think shit like that, because I’m a hater.
This new one, “Be a Nigger Too,” seems to be cut from the same cloth. Once you’ve heard it a couple of times, you could go the rest of your life without hearing it again… if it wasn’t for the damn lyrics.
And what about those lyrics? I’m sure plenty of people will criticize Nas for not having much of a decipherable point (not to mention for cursing!), but since when were rappers supposed to be college professors. Nas is not Michael Eric Dyson, or Cornell West; and if you notice, those dudes can be at a loss for a point themselves from time to time.
What Nas does a great job of on “Be a Nigger Too” is raising issues – issues you don’t hear raised nearly as often as you’d like to these days, because rappers are probably too busy trying to get deals shilling for body spray and what have you.
Take for example the age gap in the black community, which is discussed in the first several bars of Nas’ raps. Here, it sounds to me like Nas is accusing the Civil Rights generation of black activists of not being particularly media savvy. Which I suppose is understandable, given the fact that they’re… you know, old. In particular, Nas accuses them of letting the TIs pit them against the hip-hop community, rather than joining with the hip-hop community to take on the real enemy, i.e. the Ku Klux Klan.
Then there’s the white man’s right to call a black woman a nigger, when he’s upset with her over relationship issues. Or rather, the controversy that erupted years ago, when Ray Benzino unearthed an audio recording of Eminem calling a black chick a nigger, after she’d broken up with him or whatever. Nas’ take on this issue, at least as far as I can tell? Eminem dropping the n-bomb on a black chick was cool, because Eminem is Nas’ nigga. Roffle. I can’t wait until the legion of angry, lonely-ass black women get their chubby palms on that one!
I wasn’t sure what to make of Nas’ take on the issue of Africans not getting along with other black people. There’s a line that reads something to the effect of (and you can tell I’ve only heard this twice), “Some Africans don’t like other Africans. The other day, a guy got killed in Johannesburg.” Um, what was that supposed to be? A reference to the issue of African immigrants adopting a superior attitude towards black people here in the US? A general reference to black on black crime that just so happened to take place in Africa, because it was recorded the day Lucky Dube was killed? Hmm…
Finally, there’s the issue of Jewish control over the business end of hip-hop – which actually isn’t addressed specifically, so much as it just kinda occurred to me when Nas dropped the k-bomb during the first chorus and I damn near spit coffee all over my laptop. (Which I would’ve tried to get Nas to pay for, trust me.) And I know that’s been kind of a subplot in this ongoing saga, with Al Sharpton claiming that you couldn’t use any epithets for Jews in a song the way he does the dreaded n-word, because record labels have special departments that go over rap songs with a fine-tooth comb for any instances of antisemitism. (Note: Yes, Al Sharpton actually said that.)
Did Nas toss the k-bomb into “Be a Nigger Too” in response to Al Sharpton’s claim that he couldn’t? Also, I’m assuming no TIs actually signed off on this shit, right? Someone with the tools and the talent ought to approach Nas and the TIs for comment. It would be a coup for “hip-hop journalism.” I would myself, but I lack the resources. Otherwise, I’d be down in front of the Def Jam building right now with a microphone, trying to get some answers. Remember, it’s not me who hates you, it’s the people who own the companies I work for, i.e. the Jews.
OK, I lied. I can’t stand you assholes.