Nas: The N****r Mixtape

 

 

In late 2007 Nas was slated to release his ninth studio album entitled N****r. Because of the contentious title, the project was threatened to be shelved. With his sights on getting the music to masses, Nas eventually changed the title. In turn he releases a mixtape entitled The N****r Tape.

 

Things opens with Huey from The Boondocks describing what occurs during a N****r moment. The first track to hit the airwaves, “Hero” featuring Keri Hilson answers criticisms about the album’s title. He declares that he’s being jailed for his flow with bars like “This universal apartheid / I’m hawk-tied, the corporate side blockin ya’ll from going to stores and buying it.”

 

“Black President,” which samples the line “And though it seems heaven sent / We ain’t ready to see a Black president” from 2Pac’s “Changes”, gives recognition to presidential hopeful Barack Obama who Nas refers to as the new and improved J.F.K. The drum stimulated track talks about his people who are in need of a break and finally having an opportunity to be rightfully represented. “Association” featuring Stic.man from Dead Prez describes the old saying of birds of a feather flocking together and how association breeds similarity.

 

Green Lantern puts his spin on “Seen it All” sampling Dr. Dre’s “Been There Done That” while Biggie is heard reciting the lines “N****s talking it, but ain’t livin it” from “Hustler’s Story.” The horn breezy “N.*.*.*.*.R.” produced by DJ Toomp, takes things a little more serious and thought provoking with Godson advising that this history does not acknowledge each of us (“Cause anytime we mention our condition, our history our existence / They calling it reverse racism”).

 

While the message of awareness found on “Be A N****r Too” is still in sync with the subject matter of the tape, it’s a little too sing-songy which is off balanced with the other tracks. Things wind down with a timeline of Nas’ previous recordings from his lengthy repertoire and the curtains come to perfect close with Richard Prior on the outro describing why he decided to retire the necessity of calling another Black man a n****r.  While the theme might be considered distasteful, this project still delivers.

 

Nas

“Be A N****r Too”

 

Nas

“Black President”

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