If you thought Nas was being controversial with an album titled Nigger, wait until you hear some of the song titles he has for the project. The MC reached out to MTV News earlier this week to reveal a bit more about the work-in-progress.
"I have a song called 'The Fear,' " he said. "The full title of the record is 'The Fear of the Black Man's D---.' That's some sh-- you can get comedy [from], or you can get some seriousness from it when you talk about the barbaric castrations that happened in our past — which is very serious, nothing to laugh at."
Nas also said that despite the serious name of his project — which has already set off a firestorm of controversy — the LP will be balanced, and he emphasized that he is not singling out any one race.
"It's not an attack on white people at all," he promised, regarding the record's content. "It's knowledge; it's understanding for all people. It's not an attack on any race."
Nas clarified that he will be combating a myriad of racial slurs, not just the one after which he named his album.
"It's about the attacks that have happened to blacks, whites, all ethnicities," he continued. " 'Mick' niggers, 'guinea' niggers, 'kike' niggers. I have a song called 'You a Nigger Too.' "
"It's all over the place," he added. "Balance is so important because there's a fun level to the [album] too. There's an attractive, sexy, aspect to it; a stylish aspect, a flashy aspect. It takes negatives and makes them good."
While Nas had originally hoped to release the album next month, rather than rush the project, he decided to take his time and rescheduled the album's drop date for February: Black History Month.
"Just to get the sh-- all the way right," Nas said of what caused the delay. "I was still working and it was a few weeks away from a release date. It was impossible, the timing was off. I was running into the holidays. I'm always coming out in December so I guess I was used to it, but I had to force myself out of that. I couldn't force the album out if it wasn't done."
The album's production is almost over, however, and Nas said Jermaine Dupri and Diddy will be helping him to close out.
"It's in the developmental stages," he said of the tracks Diddy is bringing to the table. "The potential could go anywhere. I'm writing a lot of sh-- down, and it just sounds crazy. The direction is totally right. Sometimes when you sit down and write, you don't know how it will go. But this is totally right."
Thus far, Salaam Remi, Stargate and DJ Toomp are the most notable names who have delivered beats to Nas.
"DJ Toomp is a humble cat," he said of the Atlanta producer who has earned his biggest credits working with T.I. and more recently Jay-Z. "He has talent way beyond his years. He's got every style you need: rock joints, R&B joints. I don't wanna give it all away, but he's the type of dude that can go anywhere. Toomp is my man, he's got knowledge and that's important when you're working on your umpteenth album. It means something.
"Working with this music, if you don't have no knowledge of self, I can't work with you," he continued. "You have to have some knowledge of who we are. You can't just go in there and throw on a beat like, 'Here's a hot beat.' That don't mean anything. I need a producer. All the tracks were made for this record — you can feel the passion in the beat-making. It's time to build, '08, this the movement we on."
Nas said that no one he reached out to was reluctant to work with him on this project, and said he has not been surprised by the support he's gotten from his peers, despite the controversy surrounding his choice of album names.
"They get it," he said of supporters such as Alicia Keys, Method Man, Russell Simmons, as well as Island Def Jam Music Group Chairman Antonio "L.A." Reid. "We know what time it is. This [album] is a small thing. [Making music] is what I do, so this is part of the way I fight. But people all know what we been going up against this year and the year before and the year before. I ain't saying nothing that's foreign to them."