Nas Explains How His Mom’s Southern Roots Prepared Him For Northern Racism

common and nas

Nas had an in-depth and open conversation with fellow hip Hop star Common on the Chicago rapper’s new audio series “Mind Power Mixtape.”

The podcast world has gotten a little more interesting as Common, one of the most celebrated rappers in history, interviews Nas, arguably the greatest lyricist to touch the mic.

The Chicago rapper, whose real name is Lonnie Corant Jaman Shuka Rashid Lynn Jr., has recently launched his new six-episode series called Audible original “Mind Power Mixtape” which debuts Thursday, November 19 exclusively on Audible, as part of the Audible Plus catalog.

One of the features is the “Ether” emcee and the two spoke about how he came to learn about systemic racism as a child. He tells how his mother broke down the serious bigotry that unfortunately will follow him all his days.

Nas told the Academy Award-winner, “I knew [about racism] early because my mom would teach me all of that.”

“Be careful with a water gun, son, the cops kill Black kids for water guns,” he continued in as he remembered his mother’s voice. “Be careful with toy guns, be careful with this, be careful with that, because they will want to lock you up.”

Because his mother was from North Carolina, she was concerned that her boys might get hemmed up by New York’s law enforcement, who have always seemed to have issues with young Black men.

“She was born in the south, in North Carolina, so she came to New York and that’s where I was born. She was telling me things to watch out for so I heard it from her first, and it just all made sense because when you look out and see what’s happening in your community, you go, this ain’t how cops act on TV.”

Nas further explained how he felt when he first realized that the social ramification of his race prohibited him to dream as big as the white kids his age.

“You’re like wait a minute, you go from being in kindergarten, I want to be a fireman, I want to be a police officer because the way people push it on TV or wherever … those are the nice guys … but then you see something else in your community,” he shared. “And you’re like, this is only happening here. Don’t get me wrong, there’s white people that are getting jammed up by police too, poor whites, but it’s going down in the hood. I saw that and it all made sense.”

Common also asked Nas what he would do if he, in fact, ruled the world referencing his 1996 hit song, “If I Ruled the World.”

The podcast has tons of gems like this.

Also interviewed in the series are the following: Oscar-winning actor Mahershala Ali, renowned ballerina Misty Copeland, comic Hasan Minhaj, activist-lawyer Bryan Stevenson, and his actress-comedian girlfriend Tiffany Haddish.

Common’s “Mind Power Mixtape” is exclusively on Audible, as part of the Audible Plus catalog.