Monday, April 28, 2008
::Nas' shining contribution to the canon of intellectual Black thought::
I mean, really. This is wrong on so many levels. I don't even know where to begin. At this point, I think everybody is being controversial just to sell some units. And the part that kills the whole concept of this record is that when you listen to the single, there's nothing meaningful about the lyricism or the message. So much for thinking that Nas was going to have something constructive to say. I don't know man. Historically, the use of this word in pop culture has always been on a tightrope. Let us not forget that social thinker and comedian Dick Gregory entitled his 1963 autobiography Nigger.
But the difference in this instance is that Gregory's heart wrenching story had a socially redeeming undertone. Strangely enough, the fact that a rapper would make a record like this doesn't bother me as much. What bothers me is the gross moral corruption of media corporations who seem indifferent as to how "art" such as this will psychologically impact the masses. When the working day is done, I guess a dollar is a dollar.
Nas' artistic choices exibit the dual consciousness of many hip-hop recording artists. 2pac's body of work was a prime example. He could make positive songs citing the social ills of the Black community ("Brenda's Got A Baby"), uplifting messages of inspiration to Black women ("Keep Your Head Up") and praise ("Dear Mama"). But he could turn the corner and make violent songs that would seem as if he had an alter ego. Nas' body of work has many parallels to 2pac. Sadly, the majority of their catalogs are comprised of incendiary content. Nas' most recognizable uplifting contribution comes in the form of "I Can," a tune urging young children to aspire to higher goals in life. But, again, the Philip Morris philosophy of warning the public of an addictive poison that it simultaneously sells is clearly not the answer.
Anyway, I digress. Listen for yourself and chime in: