Rapper Nas Stirs Controversy With Upcoming Project
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Last month, rapper Nas invited the media to the shooting of his video to his new single “Be a Nigger Too.” The song, which is featured on Nas’ new project, has a hook that includes many racial epithets in addition to the word Nigger. The song also mocks the old Dr. Pepper slogan, “wouldn’t you like to be a Pepper too?”:
“I.m a nigger, he’s a nigger, she’s a nigger, we some niggers
Wouldn’t you like to be a nigger too?
To all my kike niggers, spic niggers, guinea niggers, chink niggers
That’s right y’all my niggers too”
As the rapper stood in front of journalist and bloggers at the Tribeca Grand Hotel, he stated, “I ain’t Farrakhan or Chuck D, I’m just a Queensbridge nigga that got rich. … I love pissing people off and stirring up stupid mutha—-as.”
The imagery in the video was inspired by Spike Lee’s film 25th Hour. The video reveals how the racist behaviors of the past correlate to today’s prejudices. It concludes with a slave being lynched.
Nas decided to drop the planned album name of Nigger due to political pressure. Instead, it will be untitled. He said that when activist Al Sharpton released a statement in the wake of the albums name being leaked and claimed partial responsibility for it, it was a false victory. “This record is about how the older generation looks down on us. … There’s a crew of older black people, [they’re] on their way out and we’re on our way up,” Nas said. “It looks like hip-hop niggas is about to make that Oprah money, and that’s scary to them.”
He also complained about black leaders allegedly extorting the record companies through political pressure. “Them niggas is old. The only way they make money is off our sh–.”
The entire controversy over the use of the word nigger is partly deserved as no one appreciates being referred to in offensive terms. Obviously, the rap industry didn’t get that memo. Civil rights activist have railed against the use of the word and the NAACP held a mock funeral for all to see.
The word nigger is one of the most reviled words in the English language. Last year Brazoria Texas mayor, Ken Corley proposed a city ordinance that would make using the word a crime equal to disturbing the peace and punishable by a fine of up to $500. It is safe to say that the debate over the use of the word, especially by African Americans will continue in the years to come. There is an obvious generation gap between the civil rights generation, the hip-hop generation and those caught in the middle.
While it is commendable that Nas attempts to bring consciousness to the racist history of America and its lasting affect on society, his method of doing so undermines his message with many. I for one, would NOT like to be nigger too!