Wednesday, January 30, 2008

N too deep

Live at the Barbecue

That was the name of the song that I had first heard him on. It was 1991. And this dude could rhyme!!! I had never heard of him before but I knew where he was from. He was from Queens. On that one song, he laid the foundation for his illustrious career. That song was a preview for his debut which was deemed a hip hop classic Illmatic. For Nasir Ola Daru Jones, better known as Nas, he had arrived. Over his 17 year career, Nas has achieved huge success as an artist and is known as one of the best MCs to ever rhyme. He has enjoyed platinum selling albums, a victorious lyrical battle with Jay Z, and millions of dollars.

As he prepares to release his 9th cd, Nas has created some controversy. He has decided to name his cd...N***ER. That decision has led to public backlash from black leaders like Jesse Jackson. Although Nas has the support of his record label, Def Jam, the heat has been turned up on it's parent company Sony. Nas is adamant that he wont budge on changing the title of his cd.

I'm a HUGE fan of Nas. I've been a fan since I heard him on Live at the Barbecue. That said, this is a bold move. Maybe he missed the memo...but the N word was buried last year (lol). And he's deciding to name his new cd N***ER...in black history month???? Sounds like trouble. Is he wrong? Or is he just expressing his artist value? Have we (the younger generation) become so oblivious to the word that it really doesn't have the same sting that it did for those who came through the civil rights movement?

Give me your .02 on this. I only ask that you do not spell out the word. While I'm not offended by seeing the word in print...some fellow bloggers may be. I ask that you write it like I did or just say the N word. Thanks for sharing your vibe.

12kyle

17 comments:

Airtre said...

....12Kyle, we all know that anything Nasir Jones does has a very thought out meaning behind it. He wants people to talk and think and be agitated. That's how change comes. Whether you are offended or indifferent, you are talking about the meaning, use and intention of the word. Sometimes we all can be rather hypocritical. We push porn, drugs and sex legally and make billions but we don't want to accept one word and it's duplicative meanings and we give the company (Sony) hell for entertaining the notion of honoring Nas' freedom of speech as an artist???? That's stupid and insane.

Big Brad said...

Good topic Randy Floss (if you don't know....ask somebody).

I'll say this, as a longtime fan of Nas. Since that same song you mention above. In the beginning Nas was a see'r . He spit what he saw and spit it better than anybody. But as he's aged, matured and evolved he's become more and more thought inspiring. He intentionally creates songs to provoke thought in the listener. But like any artist he has extremes of creativity. He can make the hypest party jam. To an insightful song about his child. So, the title of the new album is surely to promote dialogue about the use of the N word. And the title song is sure to be the first salvo. I won't say I agree with the N word being emblazoned on a record title for all to see. But his purpose is a noble one. If only a little misguided.

L. Renee' said...

It's all about the Hype! It's all about the Ceremony. So, what they had a funeral and buried the N-Word. Is that really going to make a difference or change how people choose to live and think? NO!!! That same day...somebody's son somewhere was murdered. somebody's daughter somewhere was raped. somebody's child somewhere was molested. The N-word is a word that people used to make us feel inferior. Nas is saying look..it is just a word. You can never bury the N-word. As long as people choose to use it, they will.

airtre said...

...nice LRenee.

12kyle said...

I think you have all made excellent points. Nas is doing this prove a point. While I may not have gone that far, I understand where he's coming from. Airtre is correct. People will definitely be hypocritical...especially when it comes to this issue. You can believe that Jesse and Rev Al will be denouncing this move.

airtre said...

"....and if Al Sharpton is speaking for me, tell him I don't approve." American Gangster Hova
'07

Trish said...

While I dont follow Nas and his career I do recognize that hes a great artist, I would have to understand more of his reasons for using the N word and know how hes plans to use it or is it just solely the title of his new CD.
It is very true, that while we symbolically bury the N word, as long as people spew it from their lips it will never be buried. We as black folk know what the word means, how it was used to describe our people.
Don't forget one meaning of a the word. (An ignorant person) which means white folk can for sure be N's too.

12kyle said...

Trish
I think our generation and those younger than us have stripped the word down to where it doesn't mean what it used to. It's used as a term of endearment.

I'll put it like this...think of all the times you've heard that word...then think of the first time you heard it. Then ask yourself... "How many times have you heard it from somebody who is not in your race?" I'm not saying that it's right or wrong...but times have changed. And so has how this word has been perceived.

Trish said...

I agree 12Kyle and I think its unfortunate that people have almost forgotten the true sting that the word has or had for our people. I do think that the sting was felt more back in the day because they were in the thick of the rasicm when the word was just used as often as any other word. It was what they described us as in person, in movies, etc. It was common place. Yes, There are people using the N word now as a term of endearment but dont have the slightest clue what it means, where it came from or what it meant to our people. Check out this moving website www.abolishthenword.com, maybe if our young people saw images often like the ones on this website, it might sink in.

steve-o said...

first of all the 1st amendment gurantees us all free speech. he has to the right to express himself the way that he feels is appropriate and we all have a choice in what we chose to do with it. on the same note if has the right to use it, then people have the right to be offended by the use of it. that said, i don't pretend to know what his intentions are with the use of the n-word in his title until i hear the album. until then we can only speculate.

my personal feelings about the current public debate regarding the use of the word is this. undecided. with a word that has this kind of power to demonize and endear, those of you of color can't convice me that you don't feel some sort of conflicting emotions when you use it or hear it being used. my grandmother, today as i write this, is afraid of dogs because of the blood hounds she encountered 20's and 30's. i can't tell her she shouldn't be offended by the use of the n-word.

with my generation the word lost some of its power because of the alternative useage we applied to it, although it didn't start with us. so i wouldn't be as sensitive to it as she would be. but i can't very well tell her how to feel about the word because i had a different experience. so i remain conflicted.

Trish said...

Great comment Steve-O

12kyle said...

Steve-O
Good points, bruh. I don't know why Nas chose to name this decision. When I first heard about it I was sure that his label would step in and prevent it from happening. But they have given him their blessings. Is it offensive? Depends on who you ask. You sound like me, Steve-o. There aren't many things that I'm on the fence on...but this is one of them.

12kyle said...

trish
Thanks for the link. I think that's important. We have to keep in mind that the younger generations never heard this word spewed at them in a hateful tone. When they see those images, it doesn't resonate the same way it does with us. Remember, these are kids who play video games and watch movies where bodies are riddled with bullets, dismembered and blown up. So, when they see a brutha being lynched, it doesn't register with them like we may think it should.

~Ms. Moore~ said...

The N word!!! I don’t like it, but I can appreciate it. To me the N word is just like b***hes, h**s, gold-digger, gigolo and several other words with negative connotations. I can appreciate them because they are appropriate. Appropriate because there are individuals that fit under each of these titles. I am in that generation of individuals that actually lived with and listened to the stories of family members that were called the N word in a hateful and degrading manner. On the flip side I can also relate to and understand (to a certain degree) the Millennials. They have a different thought process, different words and different tools than the baby boomers and their ancestors. The N word has evolved and taken on a new meaning for them. It does not have that painful and degrading meaning in their world. As for burying the N word that was a futile symbolic gesture. The N word will not go away until everyone stops using it, stops recording it, and stops printing it. In addition to that they will have to destroy books, cds, dvds, film, videos, etc everything that was ever printed with the N word in it and on it. To loosely quote Shakespeare “Nothing in and of itself is good or bad but what we think of it that makes it so”. Who knows with the next generation b***hes, and h**s could be thought of as queens and divas. As for Nas no publicity is bad publicity. He has the right to say what he wants. You have the right not to buy it or promote it. I personally think the brother will have a message on the cd and the method for his madness will be revealed. 12Kyle burn me a copy---lol www.deliveringonthepromise.com/rcvmoore

12kyle said...

Ms Moore
Excellent points. You know Nas does not disappoint. There will be a message and the cd will be smokin. And yes...I will burn you a copy. LOL

Nicole said...

Many are saying this is not appropriate and that we should trying to teach our young that this word is not to be used. I am a fan of Nas but have not heard anything from this album. However, I can say from what I know of the past, NAS is a deep brother who usually has a strong message behind his music and thought process. My questions is, I don’t remember too much ado about “Superman that Ho” and “Spiderman that Ho”. It is so funny how a woman can be a “b*tch” but the minute someone mentions the word “n***er”, people start coming out of the wood works. They are both wrong and should both be regarding in the same manner in my opinion.

12kyle said...

Nicole
"Spiderman that Ho" LOL. I never heard that one. Good points, though