With chants of "Vote or Die!" still ringing in the heads of many, Nas is one MC who wasn't quick to take up the call to arms.
"I don't feel like voting helps at all," the MC said. "I'm not helping by not voting and the presidents that are elected are not helping either. So let's pull together and do things that can help our own communities where the presidents aren't, you know? Rap labels have given more jobs to people in my community than any politicians. They have saved people from the streets more than any vote has ever done. [Black people have] been voting for a hundred years, or maybe less, but the progress happens because of people and people only.
"I do believe that politics can be used to make a change, though, if the right people are involved," he continued. "I do believe that candidates can get better, and I believe in everything that Diddy and Russell [Simmons] are fighting for. If I can make a change by getting into politics I will."
Nas even teams with fiance Kelis on his forthcoming double album, Street's Disciple, to address the state of American politics.
"I have a song called 'American Way' [where] we talk about America all of a sudden jumping on the bandwagon of politics out of fear," he said. "Our point is, if we were concerned and educated about politics beforehand, maybe we would have stopped Bush from ever getting into office. It's just that we as people and Americans, we wait too late until we want to respond. We wait until it attacks our home instead of pulling together to try to prevent these things from happening. I feel like we need to be ahead of the game."
But don't think that Street's Disciple, which is due November 30, is all politics. "The vibe here is a continuation of [2002's] God's Son," Nas said. "It's what's been happening in my life. I'm going back to the roots of who I am with my dad some more, stuff like that."
Nas' father, Olu Dara, is featured on the MC's current single "Bridging the Gap" (see "Family Affair: Nas Gets Down With Jazz-Musician Dad In New Video"). Other guests on Street's Disciple include Busta Rhymes, Scarlett, Keyon Bryce and Maxwell, among others. Fellow Virgos Ludacris and Doug E. Fresh team with Nas on the aptly-titled "Virgo."
"It's an old-school track," said Nas. "We rap in a Slick Rick style, with Doug E. Fresh doing the beat box. It sounds real party.
"I'm not heavy on astrology at all," he continued. "They're friends of mine and we just happen to be Virgos, and that's why we did the track"
Meanwhile, Busta weighs in on "Suicide Bounce." "I'm venting on this track, [so I said] 'Yo, I need my man Bus to get on here'. The track has a lot of energy, so I needed somebody to bring the energy on the record."
In addition to music, Nas is also planning a return to the big screen. Having co-written and starred in the 1998 film "Belly," he says he currently has a few new film projects in the works.
"I've written and shot a movie just for my own purposes," said the rapper. "Maybe, in the future, I will do more. I think it'll get to the point where we write albums and put so much imagination and creativity into it that they can become screenplays. So, we'll see what happens."