The little homey’s little problem

“This is an incredible message, to have someone who succeeded so much in their life, but there is still a void.” — Nas, in a speech to a Boys and Girls club in Pittsburgh the other day

No, the void of which Nas spoke was not the fact that he’s yet to craft a worthwhile followup to Illmatic. It’s the fact that he never graduated from high school.

I wonder if it really chaps his ass that he never received a high school diploma, or if he was just pretending it did because he thought it would be a good message for today’s youth. Obviously, the reason they brought him in was to encourage the kids to stay in school, just say no to drugs, and all of the other shit they try to stress with kids in inner city schools, as if that’s gonna help so many of them from becoming part of the still rapidly expanding prison-industrial complex, if they’re boys, and/or “the welfare,” as Mo’nique calls it, if they’re girls.

The guy who put on the presentation may have even pulled Nas aside before it began and gave him his talking points. Otherwise, who knows what Nas might have started talking about? You’ve heard that dreaded n-word album. And I doubt his mental state has improved any since Kelis somehow managed to take him for more money than anyone even knew he had. This album he’s putting out with one of Bob Marley’s suspect sons might be worth it just to spend an afternoon playing armchair psychiatrist, similar to how I once spent an afternoon exploring Rick Ross’ appreciation of crab meats.

Inviting Nas to speak to a group of high school kids doesn’t seem like a very good idea in the first place, except for the fact that kids might actually be willing to listen to Nas. I graduated from both high school and college, but I doubt high school kids would give a shit about anything I’d have to say – especially since I’d be hamstrung in not being able to discuss some of the things that I know high school kids would find particularly relevant, like the sex ed lessons they don’t teach you in high school health class, and the Illuminati. (My little brother teaches high school, and he says the Illuminati is all they talk about. No, really.) Plus, I’m not sure if my life would serve as a very effective object lesson in the value of pursuing a higher education. Half the people I work with at the BGM make more money than I do, and I’d be willing to bet at least some of them don’t know how to read.

Which brings me back to Nas. I read just now over at AllHipHop that he promised that group of kids that he would pursue his own high school diploma, and it wasn’t quite clear to me what he meant by “pursue.” I’m hoping he meant that he’s looking for an afternoon he can block out to take an exam for a GED, aka a good enough diploma, but who knows? It might mean that he’s planning on enrolling in a course to prepare himself for a GED exam, because he’s not quite ready for it yet. You never can tell, as far as these rappers’ literacy – or lack thereof. Some of them drop a lot of knowledge in their rhymes, but they probably learned it from guys who converted to Islam in prison.

Or could it be that Nas actually plans on getting a real high school diploma? Maybe he plans to actually enroll in a high school – like that time Lil Wayne went to college (probably just to holler at Asian broads, just like that time Rivers Cuomo went to Harvard). Promising a group of high school kids you’ll get your GED does seem kinda retarded, in that I’m pretty sure the whole idea of a GED is to certify to potential employers that someone who didn’t go to high school isn’t so dumb that they might lose a finger operating one of those meat slicers they use at Arby’s – which, I’ll have you know, they don’t just let anyone operate.

Also, did you know that the shit they serve at Arby’s isn’t really roast beef? That’s why you can get five roast beef sandwiches from Arby’s for five dollars, when you can hardly get one roast beef sandwich from Lion’s Choice for that amount. That’s something else I could have told those kids. Is it the most valuable information in the world? No, especially if you don’t really fuck with roast beef sandwiches, i.e. if you’re a fag. But it’s hardly any less valuable than admonishing kids to stay in school, in an age when even black people who are genuinely smart can’t find work.

  • sealsaa

    I know that he dropped out of the 8th grade, but goddamn, I assumed that he went and got his GED at some point in the last 20 years. That’s the fail of the day, and before anyone else has a chance to say it, smarten up Nas.

  • hate

    “Some of them drop a lot of knowledge in their rhymes, but they probably learned it from guys who converted to Islam in prison.”

    good point.

    but i refuse to believe that the g.o.a.t. is illiterate

    • Chris S

      yeah i mean he would have to read the rhymes he wrote down.

      it’s always amazed me how he can sound like a freakin prophet when talking in rhythm on top of a beat, but at the same time sounds like a retard in regular interviews.

  • Curtis75Black

    I just hope he gets it done before his daughter graduates !!She’s the only person that can look at him funny and it will hurt. Thats a damn shame. I cosign sealsaa to the fullest. After his 2nd cd, he should’ve got that done.

  • El Tico Loco

    But “it was written” in a “book of rhymes”. He can’t be illiterate just uneducated. Guess he didn’t take his own park bench in Belly advice about mind elevation.

  • AVENGER XL

    Well that explains his pseudo intellectual rants. Powered by 5 precenter speak and NOI banter with a sprinkling of conspiracy theorist. That is usually what happens when you learn a lot of things in a vaccum social chamber like the hood for black folks and sun down suburbs/trailer parks for whites.

    I hope Nas corrects this to give his kids an example of at least finishing what you started. Because he is one of the lucky few who made good with no diploma pre-Kelis of course.

    • BigJon

      Sounds like Bol. Was it the burbs or the hood for Mr. Crawford..

    • http://www.bboycult.com Don ‘$yk’ McCaine

      HEY HEY HEY NOW! LET’S NOT GO THERE!

      THERE ARE OTHER CULTURES THAT DO NOT ABIDE BY U.S. STANDARDS OF EDUCATION. DOES THAT MAKE THEM IGNORANT AND ILLITERATE?

      LET’S NIP THAT IN THE BUD PEOPLE! NOT COOL AT ALL!

      AND YES I HAVE COLLEGE EDUCATION BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN A THING! MY STUDY OF LIFE GOT ME FURTHER THAN WHAT THAT PAID PIECE OF PAPER GOT ME!

      • AVENGER XL

        Of course life can teach you more than just school alone. I also believe the way americans are schooled to be suspect at best. Factory style one sized fits all when everyone learns differently. We would be better served by an education system designed to teach us basic standards geared toward our on strengths. Helping kids become more well rounded through exposure to things they would not have been exposed to otherwise not just teaching them the test and not the concept.

        But school is important and based on the structure we have it is a start toward a better life in this country. I look at school as the gate way drug to learning to acquire knowledge if properly applied unless you are in school in ALabama or texas of course LOL

        • http://www.bboycult.com www.bboycult.com

          oh, and great job, Bol. really great read. very strong close. cause what good is anything IF YOU CANT USE IT.

      • AVENGER XL

        Not abiding by the U.S. broken standad of education is one thing. But not getting a basic education and then self educating yourself is a slap in the face to the many accomplishments black people have worked for. I didn’t agree with a lot of ish was taught in school concerning history. That just made me want to learn the truth and what I found was two kinds of revisionist histories. This made me a critical thinker and that is something our society needs more of.

        • http://www.bboycult.com Don ‘$yk’ McCaine

          “look at school as the gate way drug to learning to acquire knowledge if properly applied unless you are in school in ALabama or texas of course LOL”

          ^ roffle chips

          c/s the 2nd comment

        • http://www.bboycult.com www.bboycult.com

          @Avenger XL

          whats good buddy?

          does i hear a bit of haughtiness?

          “But not getting a basic education and then self educating yourself is a slap in the face to the many accomplishments black people have worked for.”

          that can’t possibly be true. or are you sayin the only valuable education is the one you pay for? the autodidactic is less accomplished than the one who has his “education” mapped for him by another? the food you buy is better than the food you grow yourself? freedom given by another is greater than the freedom that is self determined? c’mon dude… c’mon….

          i like you. i do, but you’re startin to emerge with this Oprah pattern. y’know where everything is along the traditional politics of race identity. “a slap in the face” to black people for not gettin an education? whose education? the one that prepares you to assimilate? integrate? DISintegrate? c’mon dude, C’MON…

          anyone who has the money can buy an education. only god can give intelligence. you my friend, sound very educated.

          George Bush is a Yale graduate. Malcolm X attended NO university. who’s greater in your eyes? or did Malcolm backhand all the black people before him?

          time to change clothes, fam. thats an old suit you’re wearin. you need a new shirt…

        • http://www.bboycult.com www.bboycult.com

          and oh yeah, really good job, Bol. really good read. really great ending. what good is anything if YOU CAN’T USE IT.

        • Capital G

          “anyone who has the money can buy an education. only god can give intelligence. you my friend, sound very educated.”

          Wow $yk, that has to be one of the most back handed compliments on the low that I’ve ever seen. Well done fam, very well played.

        • http://www.bboycult.com www.bboycult.com

          ‘preciate that homie, but i’m bboy cult. $yk is my man and blogs with me at http://www.bboycult.com. we are brothers of a same mind, just not the same person… check out the site…

        • Capital G

          Oh shit, pardon me. I really had no idea you were your own individual. I thought bboycult was the site and $yk was the person. Regardless, I’ve been to the site and the shit is dope. Keep up the good work.

        • http://www.bboycult.com www.bboycult.com

          no harm done. not at all. i’d rather be mistaken for a thorobred anyday. my name is Culture, hence bboy cult. the double entendre is purely by design. or providence. depends on which pill you took years ago…

          and thanks for the compliments on the site. we try to get in. my nigga $yk be holdin me DOWN. real ill shit. but you can tell whos who at the end of each post.

          we are supporters of thorobreds everywhere. thats means stop thru more often…

        • Capital G

          Will do Culture, and very nice to meet you. See you over at http://www.bboycult.com

          (some more free promo, I do what I can)

        • http://www.bboycult.com Don ‘$yk’ McCaine

          yessir!

        • http://www.bboycult.com www.bboycult.com

          *in Flavor Flav voice*

          Thanks, G!

  • SOUTHSIDE A-TOWN

    Bol loves the kids!

  • sealsaa

    Mos Def is worse than Nas with the pseudo intellectual rants, and it’s always made me wonder about his education.

  • Mr. North

    Nas is a lot smarter lyrically than most of these half a$$ rappers that didn’t even graduate college but pump it up like they did. And 3000 dropped out off high school. I guess he got his GED based on the “Me & You” video but who know. I never read in an article and hes also considered one of the more intellectual mc. Structured education doesn’t mean much. Look a Paris Hilton….she she went to the BEST school and look at this dumb slut….

    • Justice4All

      Structured education is very important. If you want to be something other than a dope dealer (isn’t that played way out?) rapper, singer or ball player.You need a solid education for those with the hiring power to hire you, ESPECIALLY in this day and age where people with degrees are now fighting for lower paying jobs because their field of 20 years or so dissapeard. Being educated is not for anyone else, it’s for you. It allows YOU opportunities that would not be an option otherwise. Just imagine one day you needing to grow up and get a job, and every job you go to says you are “under qualified”? Those people that you see in the entertainment industry that dropped out and became successful (to whatever degree they are), are in a very very small percentile of the rest of the american public. You would have better odds winning a fist fight with a black bear than becoming a superstar. Just saying.

      • http://www.bboycult.com Don ‘$yk’ McCaine

        Let’s not forget there are plenty of cats out there who have degrees and are ‘over-qualified’ in this 2010 job market too!

    • JEAH

      Actually Paris dropped out in 10th grade to go get high all day and got a GED in her 20s.

      Who cares if Nas has a GED or not. He’s rich. If I dropped out of high school and made a lot of money I’d make it a point not to get a GED for the lulz.

  • Justice4All

    I’ve never understood how parents allow their kids to drop out of highschool unless themselves…dropped out of highschool. Epic Fail. Education for todays youth is all but mandatory in my eyes if you want to be successful in life. Not only do you need a highschool diploma (at the very very least), you also need a Master’s Degree in a useful field to make things a little easier on you. “Our” kids are competing against those that have a leg up on education, so it’s our job as parents, uncles, aunts and the like to push them toward getting that degree. BET & MTV images is the land of make believe for 99.9% of the population, so to want to be a singer, rapper or producer is cool, but be educated and you will have options just in case nobody is checking for you. Step your game up! and be something more than statistic.

    • El Tico Loco

      Real Talk!

      *The more you know music come on at the end* tooo dooo do dooooo

    • JEAH

      Yeah, but Nas has always been half man-half amazing so society rules really don’t apply to him.

      Plus he’s able to roll up on what would have been his high school classmates and say “Hey you 40 grand a year faggot, how’s that diploma working out for you? Me? Well, I pay my ex-bitch more than you make a year for her annual bush-waxing allowance. And I got to chill at home all day watching Bold & The Beautiful and Jenny Jones while you were learning for 4 years!”

  • bdogg

    smarten up Nas…

  • oskamadison

    I remember that article in the Source back in ’94 (“The Second Coming” and don’t ask me why I remember that) when Nas said the first week of high school was his last. While I applaud him for educating himself through reading and researching on his own, a structured education would have helped him immensely in communicating his thoughts in a forum other than MC’in. I always compare Nas and Plies as polar opposites. Nas has created some of the most brilliant bars ever, but when it comes to his interviews at times you have to wonder, this is the same dude that wrote “I Gave you Power”? On the other hand, Plies’ music sounds like it was made for the GED demographic and yet in his interviews, he comes across articulate and thoughtful, probably because dude is a college graduate if I’m not mistaken. It would not hurt Nas at all to pick back up where he left off, maybe even go a little further. It could broaden him and in turn, his bars.

  • Smell Deez

    god’s son in my city??? what the hell hope he perfoms 2 nite with jay,jeezy, and j cole….

  • http://azrael-haze.deviantart.com Azrael

    Will people stop with nonsensical banter about formal education being the only way to be successful? First, define the term “successful.” If the first thing that pops up in your mind is money, then you have much to learn.

    Need I remind you that some of the most brilliant minds in the history of our species were self-taught and rejected formal education?

    I’m not saying that formal education is useless, but when people arrogantly look down on others simply because they chose a different method of acquiring knowledge, I have a problem with that.

    • El Tico Loco

      Formal education may not be the only route to acquire knowledge or success but the odds are definitely more favorable. I hear what you’re saying but I’m not telling my kids that shit. Nas just came to that realization probably from filling out applications for a second job to help out with child support.

    • GON PUCONS

      Its B.S. like that that keeps black people from achieving. I once talked to a dude who graduated college spewing that dumb sh*t to me that college don’t matter blah blah bullsh*t and he got a degree and still can’t get a job etc. I was like damn until I asked him what he got his degree in……… that bastard said art!!! I looked like da fck you expected? Man you people need to make school work for you and not the other way around. I tell my people all the time THERE IS NO REASON NOT TO GO TO COLLEGE because even this dude with the art degree who thought he could get rich quick could make a living IF HE APPLIED HIS DEGREE which is the most important lesson you learn after college. For those of you who think and believe that not having a formal education is ok or that you can succeed without one think about who the companies are laying off first during this recession, whose houses were foreclosed on first, and who will be getting the same pay after more than five years at a job. You don’t learn street smarts you live it so that is not an excuse to sit on yo ass and waste your life thinking your going to be the next big something when even if you do make it with out an education if something goes wrong like if you break your knee playing ball or punched in your throat rapping a degree is the only thing that’s going to keep you out of bol’s trash can at night (or you could become a hustling preacher like mase hammer or dmx)

      • http://www.bboycult.com Don ‘$yk’ McCaine

        After your comment I re-read every single comment, and everyone agrees about a basic education.

        But you don’t need a degree to drive a truck, and one of my homies doing it pulls in around 60K. Another homie of mine has a Master’s and is working for Domino’s as an Asst Mgr. He just came from an interview last Thur. and they told him he was OVER qualified. He worked for the state previously and was laid off last yr. It was his exact lane and we all thought he was a shoo-in. Another homie is a cement guy, no schooling required for that. All he can do now is wait for the next state project or pass the odd job card out and do it for people’s houses or small businesses.

        Another friend has an auto shop that his dad left him, he has his GED. He gets more money doing bit acting parts than the profit on the shop. Another friend has worked for 19 yrs as a janitor for a hospital and w/OT he clocks close to 70K. He went to a CC but never graduated.

        I have heard from cats I know in a lot of cases where people are being refused work now because a lot of the companies want less experienced people (little or no college), so they can low ball the wages of potential employees.

        Just saying, in 2010 that school stuff don’t hold weight like it used to. A lot of the examples shows people using their know how smarts more than the school pedigree.

  • cmoney91

    Bol,the last 2 paragraphs are funny hahahaha

  • haters are the worst

    Just go to tell you that you people really don’t no Nas it has been well documented that Nas did not graduate and dropped out in the 8th grade and you HATERS are now trying to make a big deal out of this and making a fucking blog about a hip hop legend who never denied this fact for 17 years of his career! BOI you are an ASS! Your blog is stupid…ILLITERATE means one who can’t read and Nas reads books all the time! You niggas are haters and jealous motherfuckers!

    • haters are the worst

      Just go to tell you that you people really don’t know Nas because it has been well documented that Nas did not graduate and dropped out in the 8th grade and you HATERS are now trying to make a big deal out of this and making a fucking blog about a hip hop legend who never denied this fact for 17 years of his career! BOI you are an ASS! Your blog is stupid…ILLITERATE means one who can’t read and Nas reads books all the time! You niggas are haters and jealous motherfuckers!

  • niggas grow up

    Jay-z or Em have a High School diploma…so are they illiterate as well!?

  • caino

    School aint for everyone! If you read , write and do basic math, then its a pass! Not everyone learns through sitting in a class. Especially if the material being taught is out of date (my sons school gave him a geography book, and it was still the USSR, whats that about!!)

    people learn in different ways…people gotta realise that and respect that!

  • jc huge

    each of your blog posts has me enthralled… socially relevant and cutting. you have a gift of prose. sick dap, stay black. 1

  • gon pucons

    it’s this kinda of thinking that keeps blacks out of the fortune 500. A lot of you need to find out the difference between a job and a career because the only thing I agree with is the fact that you don’t need college to start a business because this america although when when you cross into the hundred thousands of profit you better get on your sh*t ASAP because the vultures would come quick. Look at all these historically black businesses taken over by white people with degrees if you want proof.

  • El Tico Loco

    Ya’ll keep that school ain’t for everyone mentality, I keep saying the odds are a little more in your favor (80/20) but still, you can barely count in one hand the situations where education goes wrong. As a matter of fact if you went to a nice neighborhood door to door and tallied the college grads vs the non grads I bet the grads gonna get that w. On the other hand go to the ‘hood and do the same and I bet the numbers will tell the whole story. But hey with that mentality forward thinking immigrants like myself are gonna keep taking jobs from ya’ll the good ones and the shitty ones.

  • P. Harris

    Education is a necessity. But, it’s also status. It’s a label that you can carry to say that you’ve done something. It can also be used to make a claim that you haven’t done shit.

    For whatever reasons society will judge you on how much you can prove that you know. Jobs will judge you for it, women, children, family, friends, and random muhfucts who don’t have shit to do with or know you on any level will judge you.

    Meanwhile, while you may be the most educated person with no Masters, no BA or BS, or even no HS Diploma, people will scoff at you, and think that they are better regardless of your intellect. It’s some bullshit really. When you think about it.

    The whole situation is puzzling because depending on where you are trying to work it’s going to be a different struggle. You may have your degree but no experience. You may be working for a company for 10 years and they hire someone over you who’s straight out of grad school… as your boss! And then ask you to train him/her! SMH.

    This argument can go on for an eternity. I went to college because I thought I would be playing basketball. I never did play. But I value the experience of college and I value learning. I value knowing what the fuck I’m talking about. I like holding conversations and not being left out or having words fly over my head. To me the lessons learned through growing up mixed with my college education is what’s important. But by all means that doesn’t make me the smartest person in the world. That piece of paper doesn’t mean shit if you can’t do the job right.

    To the homie Nas, take all the time you want to get that GED homie. You’ll be the same person when you wake up the day after…

    • Zulu1925

      “Meanwhile. while you may be the most educated person with no Masters, no BA or BS, or even no HS diploma, people will scoff at you, and think that they are better regardless of your intellect.”

      So very true! I was a Vice President at a company in an industry which changed due to changes in Federal law. The owner of the company shut the business down and I was unable to find work for 10 months – because I don’t have a degree. I wasn’t even able to get interviews as a Manager, let alone a Director or VP, because I never finished my undergraduate degree. It took a former boss to reach out and provide me with an opportunity or I may STILL be looking for work! Talent can still help you advance, but nowadays you need that sheepskin to get in the door – or you have to have someone looking out for you.

  • http://www.bboycult.com Don ‘$yk’ McCaine

    Cult what it do!

    “The whole situation is puzzling because depending on where you are trying to work it’s going to be a different struggle. You may have your degree but no experience. You may be working for a company for 10 years and they hire someone over you who’s straight out of grad school… as your boss! And then ask you to train him/her!”

    ^ The realness right there. Y’all young blood lurkers re-read P. Harris’ comment again.

    Cats here do know the difference between a career and a job. The examples I stated show that one of the homies who is ‘out of pocket’ is the career Master’s homie. He fell victim to what I pasted above and can’t get back to what he always did, while the rest of us are utilizing our smarts, schooling & experience. Maybe you should bring up some career examples so the youngin’s can get an idea where you’re coming from

    Tico we live a in nice neighborhood. Quite a few of the elders stopped at HS. Gotta remember it was a different era back then, you could walk up to a place and get a job and take classes on the side to step your game up and still have that job for over a decade.

    And I wanted to state for the cats out there who may not have all the smarts, or the money or time to get into school right now and realistically have to work for whatever reason, there are after work and weekend classes. Or you can SELF-EDUCATE yourself and GO TO THE LIBRARY. Pick a career you would like to do (BESIDES RAP) and go read books on it. Take one home and study in your spare time.

    A lot of the reason why Blacks are not on The Fortune 500 is our desire for materialistic items. We don’t budget and save, we consume high priced items as a show of success and over-spend on trivial enjoyment. Too many times we have that “now that I’m getting money I’m gonna buy…” mentality instead of “now that I’m getting $ let me diversify/invest/save some of this…”

    I have always said the hardest word for a Black person to understand is B-U-D-G-E-T.

    BUT SCHOOL DOESN’T TEACH YOU ABOUT LIFE AND IT’S EXPERIENCES. I cannot begin to tell the stories of people who think just because they got that degree that they are good for life. They are nothing w/o that piece of paper. They talk/know more about the university than their family and their traditions.

    “To the homie Nas, take all the time you want to get that GED homie. You’ll be the same person when you wake up the day after…”

    ^ This

  • greg

    nas is running outta things to say to inner city youth to stay connected to them .
    jayz once said i did not finish high school but i have college graduates working for me.
    henry ford had a third grade education and started one of the greatest companys the world has ever seen . yes nas has money and fame but the courage he showed by telling the truth should be reconized and you look down on him .this web site hiphop media these banner ads that pay you to insult one of the the best if not the best true lyricist hiphop has ever seen ,came from high school drop outs .atleast nasir jones can admit it .

  • 3Stacks

    There is a difference between being educated and being intelligent.

    You can be educated and still be socially inept.
    While a standard education can afford you a decent job/career. Intelligence is one’s natural ability to grasp things and is what determines a person’s IQ.I think Nas poetry exudes the latter.

  • RudNare

    @ sealsaa:
    *light-bulb moment* I’ve always thought the same thing about Mos Def! I’ve always had this nagging small-voice at the back of my head whenever listening to dude! Kweli & Com, straight genuine but Mos… aaah… somebody pls put me out of this misery! :)

  • anonymous

    idk bout yall but i hate nas im not tryin hate on him cause i havent done half the shit he has but his music is trash to me

  • ThaTruth

    Nas’problem aint a lack of high school diploma. Props to the brother for trying to get Blacks to stay in school but Nas’ problems probably come down to a melted brain from all that weed he’s been smoking for years.

    He said himself that his pops got him started on weed when he was around 9 years old. Think of all the mutherfucking damage thats done to his brain. That’s where all the inconsistency comes from.

    It also explains why he’s such a stupid mutherfucker when it comes to finances. It’s either the weed or Jay Z helped fuck his financial ass when he signed to Def Jam. Jay Z’s a bitchass nigga whose got as much sense of brothahood as George Bush has the ghetto in him.