For those who have been claiming that hip hop is dead or dying, I think this last month alone should be enough to give you some cause for hope. Let me quickly reiterate
- A Tribe Called Quest reunites
- The Pharcyde Reunites
- Rock the Bells will bring the best hip hop ever all over North America
- Hip hop for political purposes
- Big Boi announces a solo album
And now Nas has announced his solo album. It was, originally, titled something incredibly controversial. That’s right, he was going to title his album Nigger. Pretty messed up, but Nas’ response to the controversy was, according to Pitchfork:
“I’m a street disciple. I’m talking to the streets. Stay out of our business. You ain’t got no business worrying about what the word ‘nigger’ is or acting like you know what my album is about without talking to me. Whether you in the NAACP or you Jesse Jackson. I respect all of them…I just want them to know: Never fall victim to Fox. Never fall victim to the shit they do. What they do is try to hurry up and get you on the phone and try to get you to talk about something you might not know about yet.
“If Cornell West was making an album called Nigger, they would know he’s got something intellectual to say. To think I’m gonna say something that’s not intellectual is calling me a nigger, and to be called a nigger by Jesse Jackson and the NAACP is counterproductive, counter-revolutionary.
“I wanna make the word easy on muthafuckas’ ears. You see how white boys ain’t mad at ‘cracker’ ’cause it don’t have the same [sting] as ‘nigger’? I want ‘nigger’ to have less meaning [than] ‘cracker.’ With all the bullshit that’s going on in the world, racism is at its peak. I wanna do the shit that’s not being done. I wanna be the artist who ain’t out. I wanna make the music I wanna hear.
“We’re taking power from the word. No disrespect to none of them who were part of the civil-rights movement, but some of my niggas in the streets don’t know who [civil-rights activist] Medgar Evers was. I love Medgar Evers, but some of the niggas in the streets don’t know Medgar Evers, they know who Nas is. And to my older people who don’t know who Nas is and who don’t know what a street disciple is, stay outta this muthafuckin’ conversation. We’ll talk to you when we’re ready. Right now, we’re on a whole new movement. We’re taking power from that word.”
I guess his intention was to reclaim the word, or something. But regardless, he’s finally decided that it’s not a good idea and dropped the title. So for now, he’s just letting his album chill untitled while he works on it and tours.
I guess in the meantime, he’s working on promoting his ex-label’s release of a “Greatest Hits” album, ironically titled “Hip Hop is Dead”. Here’s a track off it, “Surviving the Times”
Also, here’s a quick breakdown of the Canadian leg of his tour:
05-20 Calgary, Alberta – Whiskey Night Club
05-21 Edmonton, Alberta – Edmonton Events Centre
05-22 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan – Odeon Events Centre
05-23 Vancouver, British Columbia – Plush Nightclub
05-24 Toronto, Ontario – Kool Haus
Keep your eyes peeled for this solo album to drop on July 1. Hopefully by then he’ll have a title.