Friday, October 19, 2007

NIGGER


It was announced this week that Nas will release an album in December entitled Nigger. Not surprisingly, the album title has gotten a reaction from the NAACP, Jesse Jackson, and Fox News--all calling the album title dispicable and "in poor taste."

I'm sure that this will be a concept album that will have a socially responsible message and theme, in the same vein as the Dick Gregory biography of the same name. But my question is does this album title reflect a provocative artist who is looking to make a statement to better the world, or does it reflect an artist who is losing relevance in music and is attempting to gain attention through controversial album titles and themes?

I'm personally a fan of Nas. I must admit that I'm not as much of a fan now as I was during his Illmatic/It Was Written days, but I honestly think that he is one of the best lyricists that ever did it.

However, his body of work has been dissappointing over the last seven or eight years. Even his highly controversial Hip Hop Is Dead album from last year sucked musically (in my opinion), but had the world buzzing off of the title alone.

Now we go from declaring to the hip-hop community that the music that they are making is, in fact, NOT hip-hop, to ruffling the feathers of the world by selling a product that carries the name of a word that represents lynchings, discrimination, racism, slavery, death, ignorance, frustration and, today, acceptance. Is this brilliance or irresponsibility? Is Nas, who went from a ghetto prophet, to a murder rapper, to a coke-dealing mafioso, to a confused rapper, to a struggling artist, to a socially conscious rapper, the person that should take on this word on behalf of an entire race? Because believe me, when it drops, the current beating that hip-hop is taking after the Don Imus fiasco will turn into fire and brimstone when the media catches wind of it. I mean can you imagine the word Nigger being on the Billboard charts? Or white kids going to Best Buy or Wal-Mart and having a black lady ringing up their Nigger CD?

This could go either way. Either he will be looked at as a hero--a champion of the people that took on one of the most vile words to ever exist. A word that still stings when used in a derogatory context--or he will be looked at as a washed-up opportunist that realizes that his creative well has run dry musically and must resort to controversial album titles to remain relevant and sell records.

Which is it?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good article. Until I hear the album, I'm going to go with the second opinion that this is just a tool for controversy and media buzz to get some interest in his album. I don't think that he will actually release the album under that name. I think the media storm that he is going to face between now and his alleged release date will have time to build up the hype, have him change the name, have time time for him to go out and defend the original title for the album and still go gold when it does come out. Hip-hop is just not putting up the numbers it once did. Whether it be a result of downloading albums or just the general lack of good mainstream music, the numbers just aren't there. So as they say, any publicity is good publicity.

Gene said...

we're giving this word too much power ....

K.B. said...

It's all a publicity stunt from a struggling artist. I, too, think he'll change the album title.

J. Dakar said...

I concur with the previous statements.
Nas hasn't been the same since Stillmatic.

Anonymous said...

It'll be wack if he changes the title.

Nigger, take a stand!!! Don't be punked if you got a point!

Andrew The Asshole said...

Of course FOX would have this story and it was extremely one side and they clearly not having objective conversation of the topic.

This is probably just media hype, but lets pretend its not.

Then I hope that he is taking the approach of the book, by the same name. He could use the title to talk about some of the racial things that are going on in the US and around the world.

Anonymous said...

Poor Nas. Poor Kanye. Poor 50.

The only way to sell albums in the 07 is with a marketing ploy.

Andrew The Asshole said...

I thought the only way to sell anything especially entertainment is marketing?

Anonymous said...

Marketing, yes ... and just maybe a yes.

A PLOY. No. Some things really do sell based off of the product and not some biased media spin.