“I’m a n****r, he’s a n****r, she’s a n****r, we some n****rs, and wouldn’t you like to be a n****r too? To all my kike n****s, spic n****rs, Guinea n****rs, chink n****rs, that’s right, yall my n****rs too. I’m a n****r, he’s a n****r, she’s a n****r, we some n****rs, wouldn’t you like to be a n****r too? They like to strangle n****rs, blaming n****rs, shooting n****rs, hanging n****rs; still you wanna be a n****r too? True”
These are just some of the lyrics from hip-hop veteran, Nas’ most controversial song, “Be a N****r Too,” which has the industry buzzing. Is it a mockery of the African American race? Some may say that a song such as this only glorifies a much demeanor word and makes it acceptable for society to do the same. Music is an extremely powerful entity of its own. It is a form of expression for some and a way of communicating for others, but is it what motivates the young minds of our nation today? Many don’t understand the meaning of the word, cannot comprehend the pain and history behind it. A word that was meant to disparage black people and debase their character is now a word that is used frequently and freely by people who have absolutely no knowledge of the word whatsoever. This is not the first time an artist… oh and let’s not forget, our favorite comedian, has used the word in their profession.
On the other hand, some may argue that the song is doing exactly the opposite of what many people may think. Instead of uplifting the word, Nas is trying to devalue its meaning by throwing it out there to every race and not just the African community. He uses it so much throughout the entire album, appropriately titled, The N****r Tapes as if it was just another ordinary word. Nas has argued that he is taking power away from the word and not the other way around. In other words, his purpose for dropping the N bomb as much as he does is part of his plan to reverse the psychology on those who use it negatively in their everyday lingo, to make them not want to use it ever again. Sort of when you hear something so much, it get’s a little played out, like that one song on the radio that is in heavy rotation on EVERY station .
There is no doubt that the N word will always be a controversial word and there is no surprise that Nas’ song is getting so much attention. But if these lyrics were to come from another source, such as a black activist leader or someone well respected in the community, other than a rapper, would it make a difference? You be the judge…