Nas: Be a N***er Too
There is a certain word that is the reigning king of epithets in the lexicon of offensive language. It’s a word so complex and entrenched in a unique history that it can either be a polarizing term of endearment or a powder keg of repugnance depending on the surroundings, circumstances and who you ask. The word is such an uncomfortable and delicate subject that a meeting of the minds with the administration of Hypebeast had to occur to discuss if this video should even be shown here. I’m positive these were the thoughts that were floating around in the ambitious mind of Nas, who has courted controversy of the political breed since the beginning of his legendary career. Since Nas announced the title of his new album will be called “N***er” (self censoring) a tidal wave of controversy engulfed the project with civil rights activists up in arms and Hip Hop fans in a frenzy.
Although some of the mystique surrounding the album may have faded with the decision to change the album title to simply “Nas”, the constant conversation is sure to return once the viewing public gets an eyeful of the incendiary clip for the single “Be a N***er Too”. The seemingly omnipresent internet video director Rik Cordero, attempts to accomplish in a seven minute clip what Spike Lee does in an entire film in terms of powerful visuals. The video is a stark, brutal piece of cinematic imagery that juxtaposes between modern prejudice and slavery’s viral racism. The song was already floating around the net for a few weeks with all signs pointing to the fact that Nas is at his most poignant and poetic. He attempts to discuss how much the word has been overused and bastardized to a point that it has become a monolithic term that all races use to describe both endearment and ignorance. The message of the song is powerful enough, but the bone chilling ending of the video puts it all in perspective.