So, Nas has incurred the wrath of Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and…uh, no one else, honestly, by proposing to name the title of his new album “N****r” (for those who are blissfully unaware, it’s the infamous “N-word”). Now, it’s not like I don’t have a problem with it (because I am apparently one of the few young black men who is bothered by the prevalence and overall acceptance of a word whose usage could once be compared to getting spit in the face), but what bothers me more than the proposed album title are the people who act like this is some sort of revolutionary, artistic act and NOT a publicity stunt:
First of all, Nas is far from the first album to use the “N” word in it’s title. Old Dirty Bastard’s last studio album was called “N*gga Please”, and damn near every Richard Pryor album in the Seventies used the “N” word in it’s title. If we go back and watch Sanford & Son and Jeffersons reruns, the word is used with some regularity, and I don’t think the attention was paid as much then (back when the word was much more of a fireball) than it is now. Considering all these albums sold relatively well, I can’t imagine that this would even become a censorship issue. No one is going to refuse to stock Nas because of his album’s title.
Which brings me to my second point, it’s just an album title. No one decides whether to buy or not buy an album strictly based on it’s title. What will ultimately decide the album’s fate is the music included within. Nas bounced back last year with the excellent “Hip-Hop Is Dead”, it would be a shame to see him succumb to a silly gimmick when he is undergoing a creative renaissance.
Check out Nas’s official website at Def Jam here (although it doesn’t look like it’s been updated in a minute)