The controversy over the title of Nas' new album is over: The MC has decided not to call the album Nigger. The project will be untitled when it comes out in July.
"It's important to me that this album gets to the fans," Nas said in a statement released Monday afternoon. "It's been a long time coming. I want my fans to know that creatively and lyrically, they can expect the same content and the same messages. It's that important. The streets have been waiting for this for a long time. The people will always know what the real title of this album is and what to call it."
"Record stores are gonna have a problem in this day and time selling a record with that title," he said. "Who knows what that title will be? It was important to me to let the fans know what the album would be musically. ... Everybody is trying to stop the title. It's just people being scared of what's real. Somebody is trying to open up dialogue for people to talk. People that's high up [who aren't] really understanding what I'm doing, are scared. They're scared for reasons I understand, but the fans gotta know either way: This is the same album. The content is the same, the direction is the same, the message is gonna be everything I intended it to be musically.
"[The title] kind of comes off as something that can be disrespectful," he added. "Our older black people can take it the wrong way. Some non-blacks can take it the wrong way, and it becomes a thing that becomes controversial in all the wrong ways. I accept that. I'm here to do music. I'm here to rap about what I feel and what makes sense to me."
When he first announced the title at a New York show last fall, some fans, media and community activists responded with confusion and disdain. Protests and boycotts have been threatened. But Nas also gained a swell of support from other fans, peers such as Alicia Keys and then-Def Jam President Jay-Z, as well as Island/ Def Jam head L.A. Reid.
On Tuesday (May 20), the Nas track "N.I.G.G.E.R. (Slave and Master)" was released to the Net.
Nas is hoping to release his now-untitled album on July 1.
[This story was originally published at 6:39 pm E.T. on 5.19.2008]