Nas Gets Sly on Fox on His Latest

9 07 2008

Nas

By Derek Beres

With Fox News receiving some well-deserved bad PR of late — from their photographic doctoring of two New York Times staffers to the backlash against their aggressive public relations techniques — there is no better time for critiques of the machine that has taken the idea of “objective” media to a whole other level. Considering that the network’s ability to churn bad press against their detractors is rivaled only by the Scientologists’ practice of suing whoever speaks badly about their “faith,” more critical feedback is needed.

It’s little surprise that this poignant rant comes from Nas, a rapper already in the spotlight due to the name of his forthcoming album, Untitled — the actual name is Nigger, but after much flack (from Jesse Jackson, the NAACP and others) he bowed to pressure, stating, “the people will always know what the real title of this album is and what to call it.” On the track “Sly Fox,” he lets loose a lyrical tirade that proves to be one of the best social critiques of his nine-album career. While Jay-Z has often proclaimed himself the king of the double-entendre, Nas is equally worthy of this crown.

Nasir Jones is one of the few men in hip-hop whose career is not only lasting, but consistently relevant; fans look forward to each album, while other rappers the same age are often met with the question: “He’s still around?!” Nas not only has a penchant for titles — his last album, Hip-Hop is Dead, was equally discussed and philosophized — his ability to condense complex topics into manageable sound bytes without losing their depth of discussion is unmatched.

As Dax-Devlon Ross argues in his newest book, The Nightmare and The Dream: Nas, Jay-Z and The History of Conflict in African-American Culture, Nas is an icon in a lineage of icons that have bravely spoken to and about the black experience in America over the last century. While the predominant figures involved in his discussion are political thinkers, Ross argues that since the passing of King and Malcolm, and after the slightly successful torch-bearing by Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan, the flame of black consciousness was passed on to the hip-hop generation. And while many of the so-called “political” rappers proved to be nothing more than entertainers trying to fill the vacancies left in credible leadership who shied away from engaging in serious political dialogues, Nas has made this record his platform to speak from that very pulpit.

Read the full article on the Huffington Post here

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