On his latest effort, Nas raps about everything from being a roach, racism, and America.
“A roach is what I am, fool/ The ghetto is my land, fool,” Nas raps on the song “Project Roach.”
“I get to thinking about how we evolved, how the human family evolved and sh–,” Nas continued. “And I looked at ants, man. One day, I was looking at a bunch of ants. We’ve got a lot in common — just like everything that’s alive, everything that eats and breathes and builds and creates. There’s a connection to even the smallest thing. So I looked at it as the whole world, instead of looking at us as beauty. Inside poverty, inside the street, inside the ghettos and the gutters and the slums, we aren’t looked at as beauty out there. We were looked at as the worst pest, and because of that, because of that treatment, some of us started to believe we were a pest, started to believe what we were told, and started to act like it, and started to reproduce my people, bring kids in the world that were f—ed up in the head.”
“You’re not this,” he added. “But if you want to act like this and you want to be this, let’s make the metaphor and let me put you right here and say, ‘Cool.’ The roach motel could be the jails or whatever. Let me just paint that picture and see how you like that. You don’t like that, do you? If you don’t like that, shake it off, get right and let’s start getting the things we supposed to have.”
Nas is reportedly extremely upfront, in your face and abrasive on his latest effort and described where his inspiration came from.
“Somebody asked me, what’s your inspiration for this album? Everything that’s happening every day,” Nas explained. “I can’t really turn an album in when, like, next week it will be something else that will come to light and make me want to write about something. It’s hard to finally wrap it up, but I finally got there. I’m finally there now. Wow, this year is panning. … This year looks like it’s going to be amazing.”
“What’s huge for me, is when there’s an attack on hip-hop artists, and they say that hip-hop artists are responsible for the language, the terrible language, and for the violence. When we get attacked like that, we respond. We gotta to respond. We don’t want to pay too much attention to it, but with an album like this, this is my response in some ways to that, ’cause it’s, like, hypocritical, you know what I mean? With the way people are dealing with hip-hop and trying to use it as a scapegoat. So this album is like, ‘We’re not having that.'”
Nas even went on to address the issue of the controversial title of the album, and how retailers may take to it.
“Record stores are gonna have a problem in this day and time selling a record with that title. Who knows what’s gonna turn out and be on that title? 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,” Nas 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.”
“Nigger” is expected to be released July 1.