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Nas Changes His Album Title: Smart Move?

Nas is no stranger to controversy and when he announced that the title of his upcoming album would include a divisive word, he once again found himself and his music under fire.
Jesse Jackson was one among many activists to speak out, saying, "The title using the 'N' word is morally offensive and socially distasteful. Nas has the right to degrade and denigrate in the name of free speech, but there is no honor in it."

Now Nas has announced that the album will drop in July without a title, stating:

[The title] kind of comes off as something that can be disrespectful. Our older black people can take it the wrong way. Some non-blacks can take it the wrong way, and it becomes a thing that becomes controversial in all the wrong ways. I accept that. I'm here to do music. I'm here to rap about what I feel and what makes sense to me.

Interestingly, before the change of heart Nas had garnered the support of fellow artists in the community, including LL Cool J, Reverend Run, and Jay-Z. Even Alica Keys threw in a quote of her own saying, "He's incredible, he's not a fool. If he has something shocking to say, it's because he wants you to pay attention to it."

Ultimately Nas decided against alienating certain fans. Do you think this was a smart move, or did Nas compromise himself as an artist?


Join The Conversation
whatwouldruthdo whatwouldruthdo 9 years
It bothers me that people have been so critical of his choice to make people uncomfortable by using the N word. I don't agree with using the word, but I do think it can hold powerful shock value and that someone like him using it can open up opportunities for discussions on race. We still have huge race issues in the US. Shaming someone out of using the N word doesn't change that.
chelles chelles 9 years
That title is offensive to so many people, black and white, and I'm glad he got over himself long enough to change it. I've never, nor will I ever, use that word; it's hurtful, degrading and it has been a constant source of pain for the black community. As a black woman, i wouldn't want anyone to use that word anywhere near me. However as an aspiring journalist, I understand the right to free speech. But the person who chooses to use words like this should also choose to accept the consequences.
kastarte2 kastarte2 9 years
However, I would have liked to be a fly on the wall when somebody goes to a record store and asks for "n". Just to see if anybody freaks out. In our PC times, that could have been an akwardly funny scene. That would be one I would have bought on i-tunes!
kastarte2 kastarte2 9 years
I'm 25. Half black. Half white. And I believe that word is alway offensive. I like NWA and other old school gangsta rap but I wish they would lay off the N word. It gives the idea that it's ok for anyone to use it when in fact it is never ok for anybody to use it.
Allyson-N-Jason Allyson-N-Jason 9 years
Interesting...if he stuck with the title, everyone would be forced to say it, recognize it and talk about it constantly...even if they replaced it with a euphemistic alternative. I wonder if that was his intention. Was he trying to get people from various ethic backgrounds to say it and see that happened as a result? Did he think that he would take away some of the power behind the word by forcing people to say it every time they discussed his album? Was he trying to start conflict and controversy in not just using the word, but in how people socialized over it? Since a large following of rap is predominately white these days; I can see scandals happening with non-black fans uttering the album well as music reviewers on television and radio. I definitely do -not- care for the word and I never use it in my vocabulary unless I am making a reference in the discussion of racism and discrimination. It has a lot of violent, explicit and demoralizing history/legacy behind it. But part of me would be interested to see how people conduct themselves around the treatment of the album title if he decided to stick to his original idea... I have a mix of feelings on this. It certainly opens up discussion doesn't it?
BostonChick BostonChick 9 years
I agree with ^^ em113. The music will now be the main focus rather then the title, which is really what it should be about, no? Also, I cringe when I hear white people say the word...and I'm white! I don't feel that it's right given and this just gives people an excuse to use it more.
em113 em113 9 years
I think he did the right thing for a number of reasons. Now people will focus on his music rather than the name of his album, which is what any artist should want. It's also good that he will not offend as many people. Lastly, and this is just my opinion, when musicians/comedians etc. put the N word at the forefront of their album title or their comedy routine it just makes more white people feel like they can say the word. As a white student I hear guys use the word all the time (if I was black most of them would refrain) because they think it's okay due to its presence in the TV and music they listen to, I find it so disgusting that they aren't even considering the word's history. I mean if you aren't comfortable using the word in front of everyone you know, that probably indicates you shouldn't be using it all.
Kelliegrl Kelliegrl 9 years
I echo Alicia Keys' thoughts - Nas is not crazy. He raps because he wants people to pay attention not to degrade his race. He's a great artist. But I think he did a great thing by changing the title b/c he didn't want to appear as if he was disrespecting people in the black community. It's a very sensitive subject.
piper23 piper23 9 years
If he is as great an artist as some say he is, then why would he need the shock value?
superstar2780 superstar2780 9 years
"Nas has the right to degrade and denigrate in the name of free speech, but there is no honor in it." my thoughts exactly.
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