Nas Controversy Fizzes Up


nas-n-word.jpgThe controversy over Nas‘ forthcoming ablum, Nigger, is growing more intense with news that one of its songs subverts the old Dr. Pepper jingle by replacing the word “Pepper” with the N-word:

“I’m a nigger, he’s a nigger,
she’s a nigger, we’re a nigger
Wouldn’t you like to be a nigger too?”
- From Nas’ “Be A Nigger Too” (Listen here)

Before this latest shocker, a lot had been written about who is in support of Nas’ album title (Jay-Z, Common, Alicia Keys, Don Imus) and who isn’t (NAACP, Jesse Jackson, 50 Cent). 50 Cent, among others, says Nas is going for “shock value.” The fact that rappers have embraced the word and rendered it less hurtful and more banal through overuse for at least two decades may lend some credence to his claim. Maybe this is why Nas’ earlier statement seemed kind of weak:

“I wanna make the word easy on muthaf***ers’ 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.’”

But Nas’ new song could pull more people into his corner and back up Jay-Z’s earlier statement: “I know he’s very intelligent and there’s a reason behind what he’s doing.” Pairing a once-omnipresent commercial song that is childlike in its simplicity with one of the most incendiary words in the English language raises so many questions that it could make heads explode. Could Nas be commenting on how big business packages and sells just about anything to kids — from soft drinks to gangsta rap? Could he be attempting to hit back at the very commercialization that has damaged hip-hop as an art form? Could he be doing all of the above and stirring up controversy to sell albums, too?

Nas’ intentions may not yet be totally clear, but we’re all waiting to hear more. — Matt Muro

[Photo: Getty Images]

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  1. SUGAR says:

    wow…is nas gone crazy???….i mean i dont think that the N word is bad..cuz a lot of ppl use it wit friends but to make a song and to have t-shirts with the N word real big is just plain crazy…

  2. crystal says:

    i think thers a bigger meaning behind what Nas is trying to get folks to see its deeper than the word. Like he calls Jews and everyone els @+$`~ then he says y do u want to be a @+$`~ or be called @+$`~ when other people of diffrent races see what we go thru but still ur called @+$`~ i just feel Nas is deep and please believe it the is a meaning behind it and ill go buy his album twice in case 1 skips ill have aback up he is one of the few people i wouldnt download

  3. i am me says:


  4. Tanderson says:

    naz is a wast of a life at this point he has been one of my fav rappers but this is it I will never ever again support his sorry `*+ there is no way to take away fromthe pain and history of that word and to think you can change history by saying that everyone is a N*$$%# then your a ignorant lil #$!)+ bottom line….people have died and fought for years so that we dont have to deal with being called that and for our own people to be supporting it and calling each other that word does nothing but push us further and further back down the ignorat path that the world would love to see black people stay down…..NAZ IS A !%)% IN IGNORAT `*+ WHOLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You will burn and I will be glad you do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. DivaStyle says:

    I feel like Nas has the potential to change the way we view the word ~%)%*@ He is one of the best MC’s of all time. Also as long as he stuck with what everybody wanted him to do it’s all good. But now he’s venturing off and doing his own thing mofo’s mad. BE MAD!!! All I say is let him do his thing and see where it goes.

  6. fanofmany_07 says:

    Us as African American we have to get better wit this word yes our ancestors was called this word, but if we get offended everytime somebody call usa _~$%!$ then we are saying that we are defeated, our ancestor took a stand, I mean you want other races to stop calling is that then we have to calling eacother…Man I support Nas 100% wit wat he is doing, because we for real we have stop taking this word so serious I mean look up the meaning to this word and it means ignorant anybody can be a _~$%!$ in that case. I’m an african American Female and don’t take this word as nasty remark, because its not that serious,, but we can let people call us ++$)* es and hoes, but when somebody call us a _~$%!$ we want to fight and burn down _)(# Would you rather be called a female dog or ignorant. Come onn now Black people it 2008, we have to take other things serious, like why we have more black men in prison then we do in college and you worrying about a word that can me directed to another race, like I said we have to get better at dealing wit the word _~$%!$

  7. ed says:

    nas is a lyrical genius i respect the brother since illmatic i seen he had a way of making people see things ..nas knows whats he`s doing and ima still buy his album…and i usually jus burn cd`s from my boys crib ..but when it comes to NAS i want to make sure he get my support so ima be paying that 15 to 17 dollars for that cd..QUEENS ALL DAY..1

  8. Merc says:

    I’m sorry but out of most songs which use the word, this is one of the few that put any meaning to the context surrounding it. No one needs to be shocked that the word is being used excessively in rap music. If this offends you, you might be the ones feeding into the shock value that may be behind all this. However, I believe in Nas and I think he is trying to do something, how he goes about it is a little weird sometimes. I would just rather Nas make hot music and never release another “Streets Deciphal” ever again. You should check out Ill Bill’s “White _#&$`( that is more cleverly written than this in my opinion.

  9. reed says:

    Good read about “BE A +*$&~% TOO” right here…They even catch the 80s reference that Nas makes, and humorously think THAT is the shocker on the track…

  10. Levone says:

    Ok! First of all for all you young “Hip Hop” fans out there. If you knew your history, Eazy-E sang that N!66@ jingle a long time ago, way before Nas.
    Second thing, I have noticed that in the past few years that the “WORD’ has become common place in media as well as in the mouths of white, latin and asian youths. It is just another example of how Black culture affects eveyone today. The ‘WORD” is being used as a term of endearment among many more races than African-Americans because people think it’s cool.
    By Nas putting this album out he is just going to cause people to stand up and take notice to him. After the album release I am sure you will see alot of those shirts being worn. There will be tension between teens and others because Johnny Suburbs wants to be cool and sport one, but John John Urban wants to beat his soul because he feels disrespected. It’s a revolving door, It happened a few years ago when Dave Chappelle was still on the air. There was not a day that went by when I did not hear “I’m Rick James B!7(#!!!” or “wasn’t that Ni66ar family skit funny”.
    I really don’t know what will become of this issue but I will be paying attention to see the outcome. Will we see the likes of what happened in the early 90′s with people steam rolling millions of Nas albums because of a song. Will C. Deloris Tucker come back with a vengence. I don’t know, we will just have to wait and see.

    Now I am off to fill my car up with $4 a gallon gas…Wow and we are worried about Nas!

  11. Lady Liz says:

    I think he’s a F**KING GENIUS!!!!! GO NAS!!! Let’s make him PLATINUM!!

  12. Eboni_24 says:

    The word “Nigger” has definitely been controversial for decades. It has especially been a problem in the black community because people feel like it makes us look ignorant as a people when we call each other the N word. I feel like what Nas is doing is genius because he realizes and understands that the N word will most likely never go away just because the black community has accepted this word. So, if we cant control people saying this word then why don’t we come to terms with it and let everyone know in the world that the N word is just another word to us. The term cracker is just another word and it doesn’t offend white people because they let people no that it doesn’t, so how about we let people know that the word **!&`~ doesn’t offend us.

  13. lanette says:

    ++$@ imus.

  14. TTjessie says:

    Why does someone discriminate black? I don’t think love is just belongs to white. I’m a black and but my hubby is white. We met at……..which tell us love is color blind. Our love proved this. I hope each one will not discriminate blacks.

  15. mr.pain says:

    he doing that to sell records, i’m not mad him. but the word %*(^% is never cool.i know we call us that to others but it’s not cool. so to sell records i guess. go to

  16. jude says:

    i dont think he realizes the back lash that black people are going to get for this. hes thinking about himself and not about the black community as a whole. we may have a black president soon and then nas goes and does this. hes setting us back 200 years and thinks what he’s doing is positive. i used to love nas but because of this, i think he is a complete idiot and i will never buy one of his albums ever again.

  17. bruce says:

    i’ll be buyin that cd when it drops

  18. bigd26 says:

    i dont care what anybody thinks about nas’s new cd hes one of the most lyrical rappers today and he is my favorite rapper and he must have a point behind it.

  19. tANDERSON says:


  20. tim says:

    nas my favorite artist i love it he really makes you think i appriciate you thanks !!

  21. li4e says:

    simply the best to spit 4 hip hop period

  22. ME says:



    Check it out!!!!

  23. me says:

    The new nas record is up on

  24. ewash says:

    This is y hiphop is so real 2 ppl cause i remember saying dat same slogan and hearing other races wanting to be us from wigger to sand @@ we come in all forms it just we adapted the word to mean something bad i just think it a way 2 say it or things and where u say things just like u dont smoke in a room wit a baby or non smoker but its inbeded in the streets and there is no deleting dat so matter how u see it it will all ways stir somebody and we can debate 4ever but it not going nowhere cause sometime or another we all n@@@@@S.

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