As our loyal readers are no doubt aware, Nas recently released his newest album, “Untitled.” Originally named after a racial epithet beginning with the letter N, the Queensbridge emcee retitled the album after intense pressure from his label, who in turn were under the gun from major retailers like Wal-Mart.
Anyways, despite the controversy (or perhaps because of it), the record is set to debut at number one on the Billboard charts. And this has academics and journalists licking their lips After all, it permits them to sail headlong into the treacherous waters of race relations; it’s an opportunity for them to offer their thoughts on the state of the contemporary American melting pot and hip-hop’s potential for mending or worsening its fractured edges.
Despite the politically correct tightrope these analyses must walk, a number of them are quite good. Definitely check out Matthew McKinnon’s take on the issue. Also worth peepin’ is Idolater’s round-up of “Untitled” reviews, Julian Benbow’s piece in the Boston Globe, and an editorial about why the N-word will never lose its potency.