Never one to keep quiet when he needs to speak, Nas has had a lot to say about the current political situation in America. His Netflix series on the birth of hip hop may have been cancelled but it was more than willing to take on issues while it was on the air. A lot of that comes down to Nas and he’s taken that energy to an open letter published in Mass Appeal where he laid out his exact feelings about race and politics.
‘We all know a racist is in office.’
“The only way the black man gets a little piece in America is if he takes the O.J. stance: “I’m not black, I’m O.J.” When you ignore the shit that’s happening to people you can live in this fantasy, this American fantasy that you belong to… who? You ignore what’s happening, and that gives you peace. Because what’s going on is enough to make people insane.
Some guy lynched in a tree at Piedmont Park in Atlanta, Georgia, and the cops rule it a suicide. Now, don’t get me wrong—suicides happen. There are blacks suffering from mental illness just like whites suffering from mental illness, except that whites who suffer from mental illness and have interactions with the cops, they end up living. Blacks, we get killed. So if you want to sit back and ignore all that, go the O.J. route. Just remember, even he got dealt with at the end of the day.
So where do I stand? I stand just as a man, doing what I have to do. Doing what I was born to do. No one can tell me who I am. No one can tell me where I can go and cannot go.”
Nas Takes on politics for the people
“My way of addressing these issues is through my work. Whatever president may be in office doesn’t affect my work directly. The way he affects people is what affects me. I observe what’s going on and that goes into my creative process. The person himself, I’m not caught up with. I don’t even have time for Trump or Pence. I don’t give a fuck.
My focus is on what’s happening with real people in their everyday lives. How they behave, the decisions they make, and how that affects families. I grew up in a single-parent household, so I was affected by that life. But it didn’t stop me. So I speak to the everyday people. I speak to everybody. If the people are bothered by it, I speak on it. If the people are bothered and want change, I speak on that.
It’s the same way I felt as a youngster when Ronald Reagan was in office. My voice at that point didn’t fuckin’ matter to anybody. I didn’t care. You know what’s different today? I’m older, that means I’m more responsible. That means paying attention to what’s happening to my country. “
The letter comes ahead of Nas announcing he will go on tour with Lauryn Hill this summer. Listen to ‘If I Ruled The World’ below to get ready for it.