Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Controversy Surrounding Nasir

Personally speaking, I'll have to see what the album is about before I can speak on his title choice. I've learned my lesson when it comes to jumping the gun in either a yay or nay direction, in the past... Nas has proven himself to be conscious, and has released uplifting music, remembering the youth where others seemed to forget children might be listening. He's also maintained his street cred, while promoting education (though 'No Cents' thinks reading is stupid and inserted foot to mouth as usual calling reading corny and attacking Nas' bookishness...only to release a book several months after the statement...Go figure).

Nas' people's have expressed support for his choice.
The release should prove interesting to say the least. I don't get the vibe this is simply for sensationalism, because I don't think Nas is cheap like that. Unlike the wrong turn many artists took making their interpretations of HipHop artless (and nauseating...), Nas' music has maintained its integrity for the most part.
Seeing as he has chosen not to use the 'term of endearment' version of the 'N' word for the title, it's very likely his album is politically driven, and a statement calling folks to remain vigilant about the second class citizenship and demeaning mythology Motherland descendants have been given in this country...

Only time will tell.

A clip is included below of Nas' people along with a quote from Common speaking on why they support his choices.

“I love Nas. Nas is always bringing something new, bringing something for us to think about. He’s one of the best ever. If it wasn’t for Nas, a lot of cats, including myself, wouldn’t be rhyming the way they do. So I mean, I know [the title] is something behind what he’s doing, he’s making statements. That’s something we need in hip-hop. Last Poets did it, Gil Scott-Heron did it, Marvin Gaye did it. We gotta keep making statements.”

-Common on Nas and his title choice.



Villager said...

Purple Zoe, it is difficult for me to see any positive or uplifting reason to use the N-Word. I've shared my thoughts on NAS' album title over on the Electronic Village.

I do admire your patience and restraint!

PurpleZoe said...

Nas has displayed interest in uplifting our community in the past more than once, so I can't hop on the bandwagon and place judgment before I know where he is going with it.

If he titled the album that way as a political statement in hopes of saying to the world that we are still being treated as what the N word defines, it is much different than him saying he is comfortable being called by that word.

I think using the 'Nigga' spelling and justifying it as a term of endearment is ridiculously misguided, and a product of cultural conditioning, but when it is being used artistically to prove a political point the vibe is different.
I'd really have to know what his motivations are before I can pass judgment. There is far too much judgment passing as it is in our community, and I do try to approach things differently wherever possible in interest of unifying rather than separating.

Don't get me wrong, there are certain people who have shown themselves to be straight up fools who have no regard for the community because they are totally unconsciousness. I tend to tune them out, and invest no energy in them, their cause, name or etc. Without energy, those types can't feed and can't grow in their ignorance.

Folks who have shown they have functional brain cells tend to get more of my attention than not. A book was written with the title 'Nigger' several decades back from an author who wished to explore it from a socio-political standpoint.

It is all how it's used.
Out of respect for the ancestors and ourselves it shouldn't be used trivially, as an insult, or as a 'term of endearment'.
It is not a fitting definition, but rather a tether of the White Supremacist system. It is in our best interest not to embrace the lower imagery and mythology coming from that system's attempt to pass off its insecurities onto us.
We should be seeking to stop supporting that system altogether, by seeking to find ways to unify the relations between the elders and the youth, the male and the female, as well asthe lower class and the upper class without passing blame. Until we can get close to that kind of unity, there will be the urge to section ourselves off as the good or bad ones.
It's a very slippery slope I think. I believe we can find unity, but I don't believe it will begin with finger pointing. It will start with embracing, healing, and accepting our own when they fall and when they rise. It will also be necessary for us to maintain control in our own communities and see that justice is served in the cases of black on black crime.
I read on another blog that someone was suggesting we hire our own security forces for our community. I agree.
That is something of worth to invest in for the future of the youth and community relations. It is assured we can't really trust outside factors, or 'just-us' mentality, so we need to get involved in the process of ensuring our own codes of behavior. It takes time, but it can be done with enough willing people. It won't happen by attacking one another. Attack breeds defensiveness, which breeds anger displacement and mischievous behavior. We see this result at work in the younger males of our community in numbers larger than there should be.

I think steps have been made in that direction, and as long as we can find peace within ourselves we can rebuild the community and reclaim our identity despite the history of degradation Motherland descendants have been subjected to in this country.

We'll see what Nas' motives are soon enough.