Nas is a Comedian, Not an Intellectual - Know the Difference

Nasir Jones is a funny, funny guy.

Nasir Jones, aka Nas, rapper extraordinaire is back in the news. In fact, he’ll soon be back with a new CD. The often controversial rapper is again doing what he does best, causing controversy. To be truthful, there really isn’t any controversy…just high comedy.

Nasir Jones is a funny, funny man; borderline hysterical.

Just in case you’re not aware of the latest, Nas has announced his forthcoming CD will be named…

(drum roll please)


Yes, see how the mere utterance of the word in its full, gory splendor makes most “reasonable” individuals twitch in discomfort. Note; emphasis on the word “reasonable.”

Nigger, coming soon on iTunes. Or, you can run out to your local music retailer and purchase Nigger as a gift for your loved ones this holiday season. In fact, call your favorite radio station and request Nigger right now.

Yes, doesn’t that just “sound” like a good idea?

THAT, my people, is brilliance unparalleled. Such creative genius only comes around once in a generation. The juxtaposition of “nigger” and rap music is groundbreaking. Never before have the two come together in music.


Evidently the NAACP and other civil rights ancillaries are none too pleased at the announcement and have voiced their displeasure. To which, Nas had this to say to MTV News:

“I’m a street disciple. I’m talking to the streets. Stay out of our business. You ain’t got no business worrying about what the word ‘nigger’ is or acting like you know what my album is about without talking to me.

He goes on to say…

“If Cornel West was making an album called “Nigger,” they would know he’s got something intellectual to say. To think I’m gonna say something that’s not intellectual is calling me a nigger, and to be called a nigger by Jesse Jackson and the NAACP is counterproductive, counter-revolutionary.”

And so goes the continuous contradictory nature of hip-hop music today.

Quicker than a single rotation of a 12” LP, hip-hop will argue the merits of “free speech” and how hip-hop should not be “censored” or heaven forbid, criticized. Yet at the same time, hip-hop has been gleefully ignorant as to the implications and responsibility associated with anything “free.”

“Freedom of speech" is an inalienable right to avoid prosecution for your views…not persecution because of them. There’s a distinct difference.

Nas is "free" to title his CD Nigger or any other equally misguided nomenclature he sees fit; regardless of how ill-conceived, illogical and asinine it may happen to be.

But why in the hell WOULD anyone (Black) WANT to do so?

Be it the attempt to justify the BET TV show Hot Ghetto Mess, merchandise "Nigga" T-shirts (Damon Wayans) or naming your CD Nigger…the question is the same.

Why in the hell WOULD anyone (Black) WANT to do so?

Freedom of speech intimates a dialogue, not a monologue. The NAACP, Jesse Jackson and Mo’Kelly are also "free" to express our overwhelming disapproval at Nas’ lack of foresight and class. Freedom of speech does not begin and end with the first voice in the discussion, it continues until all are heard.

This is Mo’Kelly’s turn.

- Disciple n.

1. A person who is a pupil or an adherent of the doctrines of another.

There is nothing inherently dishonorable in being “from” the streets. Our origination points in life are simply that…a starting locale prior to growth and progress. They should never be the goal or end destination.

The problem though is coveting the infantile mentality that eschews growth, education and progress for items of zero value…synonymous with “the streets.”

In “the streets,” men are not men.

Lil Flip

Young Jeezy

Young Joc

Young Buck

Hot Boyz

Lil Jon

Geto Boyz

Baby Boy (Movie)

Boyz in the Hood (Movie)


And to think we as African-American men couldn’t stand to be called “boy.” That’s clearly progress at its best.

In “the streets” women are not women.







The “mores” and “ethics” of the streets are contained in phrases such as “stop snitchin.’ The debasement of women and disrespect of fellow African-Americans are acceptable and encouraged modes of behavior.

The “streets” are about “having more” not “being more.” The “streets” idolize drug dealers, rappers who pattern themselves after Mafiosos and/or drug dealers (i.e. “Nas Escobar”) and are largely indifferent to common sense and decency. Mo’Kelly’s not deriding people “from” the streets, just those who embrace the tenets “of” the streets. It’s about the mentality, not the zip code.

It wasn’t the zip code that landed rapper T.I. in jail (again). It was the mentality that convinced him machine guns and silencers were more important than continuing to enjoy his music and movie stardom without them.

If Nasir Jones is a self-proclaimed “street disciple,” then by definition he embraces and extols the “virtues” of the very least that African-Americans have to offer and the worst of human interaction. Mo’Kelly doesn’t need to “wait” for the CD to KNOW that Nigger is an unacceptable way to represent African-American people.

Mo’Kelly’s got common sense and decency.

“I’m a street disciple. I’m talking to the streets. Stay out of our business.”

- Nas

Like Mo’Kelly said…Nas is a funny, funny man. High comedy. And by the way, since 70% of all hip-hop is purchased by non-African-Americans, what "streets" is Nas REALLY talking to?

Nas should've said..."I'm talking to the suburbs, who keep me in business." THAT is more of an accurate statement.

The moment Nas stops appearing on MTV News, pre-promoting CDs, having his music spun at night clubs, accepting royalty checks from a conglomerate he neither influences nor owns et. al…then and ONLY then might he admonish anyone to stay out of his “business.” In the meantime, he keeps bringing his “business” to us and is quite intent on making a profit in the process.

In addition, as long as Nas is intent on “representing” African-Americans in a public sense with such stupidity, it will always be Mo’Kelly’s “business” to check him accordingly.

“You ain’t got no business worrying about what the word ‘nigger’ is or acting like you know what my album is about without talking to me.”

Great. Nas is also the self-proclaimed “authority” on the word “nigger” with all rights, entitlements and privileges accorded thereto. That is “goal setting” at its highest.

Mo’Kelly wouldn’t dare try to take that “honor” away from him. Mo’Kelly will let Nas hang that award proudly on his bathroom wall…right next to his 8th grade diploma.

The simple point Nas misses (one of many) is that “just because you ‘can’…doesn’t mean you should.” And if you still do, don’t expect the rest of us to support you either.

Enough is enough.

If Nas can’t understand the inherent stupidity in naming his CD Nigger, then it’s a fair assumption the subsequent content is equally lacking in common sense. Remember, he’s a “street disciple” with all the baggage it entails.

Heaven forbid if we as a people strove to “be more” instead of just “having more.”

“If Cornel West was making an album called “Nigger,” they would know he’s got something intellectual to say.”

Let’s stay within the realm of common sense here. Nas is not on any intellectual par with Dr. West and neither are Nas’ “teachings.” And if Nas is only talking to "the streets," any and all references to Dr. West are silly. Is Nas trying to be silly or serious? Right now, the humor is winning out.

Nas IS a funny, funny man invoking comparisons to Dr. West. Appropriating the intellectuality of Dr. West to argue the merits of stupidity is high, high comedy. Dr. West hasn't written any songs talking about You Owe Me or engaged in publicized beefs/pissing matches, dissing his peers such as Tavis Smiley, Leonard Pitts or Earl Ofari Hutchinson over perceived disrespect.

Nas on the other hand...

But to Nas' point, Dr. West has released multiple CDs which included the topic of The N-Word (as the songs were specifically titled). Meaning, Dr. West is clearly sensitive to the controversial nature of the word in ways that Nas is not. The fact is; Dr. West likely wouldn’t ever name his CD Nigger. The hypothetical is erroneous and ridiculous.

“ To think I’m gonna say something that’s not intellectual is calling me a nigger, and to be called a nigger by Jesse Jackson and the NAACP is counterproductive, counter-revolutionary.”

Nas would like us to disregard the greater portion of his career filled with non-intellectual beefs with Jay-Z, 50 Cent and others. He would like us to forget all of his foolishness, but Mo’Kelly won’t. Nas is occasionally intellectual…in the way that it occasionally rains. In other words, he changes like the weather.

But therein lies the rub. Although Nas is fine with using “Nigger” for his own ill-gotten gain, irrespective of how destructive, offensive and inflammatory it might be; he’s “offended” at the prospect of the insult being thrown back at him.

Which is it Nas…is the word offensive and inflammatory or not? Nas can’t seem to make up his mind.

Nas’ own contradictions are the perfect illustrations as to why this word has no place in our mouths, our hearts…or as titles of our CDs. The word and its hateful history are neither redemptive nor salvific. Nothing good has EVER come out of “nigger.” Being that Nas is the “authority” on “nigger” he should already know this to be true.

We're taking power from the word,” Nas also added.

No, he's not. The word itself doesn't have power, it's the history and racism it embodies which have power...neither of which he's addressing or mitigating by "selling Nigger" for $18.95.

Nas can't numb African-Americans into submission through overuse of the word in the hopes of it becoming passe' and he knows it. He just wants your $18.95 before you figure it out.

No matter how many times Richard Pryor said it under the guise of humor, no matter how many times NWA used it under the guise of empowerment; the FIRST time Michael Richards mentioned it...we were back to square one. The FIRST time it was used against Mychal Bell, the wheels of history began turning in his mind and the Jena 6 were born.

Usurping the "power" of the word Nigger is a farce. Selling it for $18.95 is a modern-day minstrel show/slave auction...take your pick.

The association of “nigger/nigga” and rap music is not "revolutionary." Ever since the debut of NWA in the early 90s…rap and “nigger” in all of its permutations have been inextricably linked. Nas is not breaking new ground here, only digging up more of hip-hop’s old skeletons. In fact, the use of "nigger" on an album/CD isn't even new. Richard Pryor has Nas beat by some 30 years and we should all remember where "intellectually" and emotionally Pryor ended up on the use of the word "nigger" when all was said and done.

To be “revolutionary” implies cutting against the grain in the hopes of uplifting the least of all of us. It’s a key differentiation between relevant social revolutions and garden variety prison breaks.

Nas titling a hip-hop CD in 2007 Nigger after a career of its incessant use in his music is indicative only of unimaginative profiteering, masquerading as intellectuality. His inability to see past the error of his ways is just more of the infantile faux-masculinity that is common and pervasive amongst “street disciples.”

Nas, you are a funny, funny man…even when you’re not trying.

The Mo'Kelly Report is an entertainment journal with a political slant. It is meant to inform, infuse and incite meaningful discourse...as well as entertain. The Mo’Kelly Report is syndicated by Newstex. For more Mo’Kelly, http://www.mokellyreport.blogspot.com.

Morris W. O'Kelly can be reached at mokellyreport@sbcglobal.net and he welcomes all commentary.

Get Chitika eMiniMalls


Baba Kifo said...

Mo'Kelly needs a Greatest Quotes section! And your [“Freedom of speech" is an inalienable right to avoid prosecution for your views…not persecution because of them. There’s a distinct difference.] quote needs to be near the top!

The point about Men not being Men was also excellent. While I had noticed the trend towards "lil" in so many rap names, I had not recognized that parellel. And it's only a short step further to connect both of those to the attitude of refusing to take responsibility for one's actions. Deep.

Nas is indeed "funny". As "funny" as that particularly embarrasing family member who always, always, always acts ignorant at family gatherings or in public. Real "funny".

Dr. Wright said...

The real test is will African Americans buy the album, and will we
call our white friends on it if they buy it?

Native Son said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Native Son said...


Mo, you are the man!

I love Nas, but he is so off point on this one and his comments were so ignorant.
Nas claimed that young people on the street don't know who Medgar Evers is but they know who Nas is. Then Nas should rap about who Evers was and what he stood for.

Nas should rap about the jena 6 and other injustices and relate it to the civil rights movement; you just don't write it off because our youth don't know their history. This is a perfect example of how we underestimate, undervalue and marginalize ourselves.
Your blog post is right on point. Keep it up man!

Anonymous said...

I'm buying the album and I'm supporting the brother because I know from past history that Nas' music is anything but "NIGGER" music so he'll have something interesting to say on it. Rather than make long rants about a album title, why don't you focus on writing something about Darfur or Obama's quest for presidency. Then again, you could always wait until the album comes out and have a valid opinion of it.

Naaa... much easier to do the "NIGGERLY" thing and attack the brother before you even see what he says. Congrats.

The Mo'Kelly Report said...

Dear Anonymous...if you followed my column a bit more closer you'd already know I've done two pieces on Obama and one on Darfur.

So who's the ignorant one with an invalid opinion?

Oh that's right...we'll never know, "anonymous."

You keep on trying though. Do your homework a bit better before you accuse someone else of not doing theirs.

And the piece wasn't about the CD...it's about the title.

Then again, you didn't read my article too closely either.

Harsh Times said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Harsh Times said...

I never knew who Mo'Kelly was until I saw this article about how Nas is a comedian not an intellectual. Listen to his album before you jump on the bandwagon and try to judge a book by its cover, that is exactly what is going on. There is obviously a reason for the title of his album and the media jumps on the opportunity to attack a black rapper/celebrity. How could someone that is fermiliar with Nas and his albums think that he was putting out trash music? Everything he makes is supporting African Americans. When the album comes out I am sure I will see a Mo Kelly report praising Nas's music because thats what everyone else will be doing too. How about tracks like..

1) These Are Our Heroes
2) Rest Of My Life
3) Reason
4) We Will Survive
5) I Want To Talk To You
6) Revolutionary Warfare
7) Let There Be Light

Just to name a few. Maybe you will get recognition off of Nas's name. That would be good. Good article but I think you should stick to your ropes.

The Mo'Kelly Report said...

Harsh Times...I've written on Nas before. If you equate "not knowing about me" to somehow mitigating the relevancy of my points or their accuracy in hitting the mark, that's your bad.

In fact, I did an editorial on "These are Our Heroes" and all of its factual errors.

So if you base the "greatness" on Nas on flawed information, of course you're blind to the truth.

He's a brilliant lyricist...but that doesn't mean he's intellectually on point.

Biggie was a brilliant lyricist too...but not profound in the least.

If you read W.E.B. DuBois or Paul Robeson, somehow Nas doesn't hold a candle. But you have to have a point of reference and/or comparison.

If Nas is your "standard-bearer" it only means you don't get out much.

But since you're not familiar with me or my views on Nas...here's a link for you.


Thanks for reading and responding.

Wayne T. said...

Your article started by saying that Nas "is again doing what he does best, causing controversy." That is far from the truth. The only controversy Nas has "caused" in his fifteen years in the industry was by calling his last album "Hip-Hop is Dead." And that was just controversy within the Hip-Hop community. If you are referring to the Virginia Tech thing, then you must realize Nas didn't "cause" that "controversy." The students chose to have him as a performer because of his many positive and uplifting songs.

As far as calling his album title "ill-conceived," Nas actually brought up the idea over a year and a half ago of using that as an album title, prior to the release of his last album. So this is anything but "ill-conceived." You say "why would anyone (black) want to (use the word)? I assume you would understand this, but Nas also has explained that he wants to continue to take the "sting" out of the word. That's why black people use the word. It is a form of turning it around on white people. I figured you would know this.

You say "In the streets, women are not women." That should be "SOME" women. All the terms hoes, bitches, etc. are used to describe SOME women, not ALL women.

You go on about the misguided ideology of "the streets" when it should be noted the extremely high poverty rate, the years of discrimination upon minorities, and the national average high school drop-out rate of 32% all play a major role in this.

And just because Hip-Hop music has an average of 70% white fans, somehow you say Nas can no longer be accurate in saying he "talks to the streets?" Just because white fans enjoy the music doesn't take away from who his core audience really is and who he's been trying to uplift and inspire for his 15 years in the industry with his music. That's why he says it's his business. He is trying to speak directly to those in poor conditions trying to get out of the struggle. You say he is "bringing his business to us." That is ridiculous. Nas is putting out a CD for his core audience and you are saying he is "bringing his business to you."

You go on to insult his intelligence which only starts to discredit you and your beliefs because obviously you are not nearly familiar enough with the man to pass judgment on him. You call him "stupid" and say "don't expect the rest of us to support you either." This is where you let the free market decide. If this idea is so outrageous, people won't support him. We will wait and see.

Later, you start to really get inaccurate. You kept calling Nas a "funny, funny man" But as I kept reading, I almost started to laugh at your incredible mischaracterizations. You say Nas has spent "the greater portion of his career filled with non-intellectual beefs with Jay-Z, 50 Cent, and others." I mean this couldn't be further from the truth. Any "beef" he has had, was started by the other. All he did to Jay-Z and 50 Cent, was defend himself with one song each. That's TWO songs out of his collection of over 200 songs. And for the record, he did defend himself in an "intellectual" way.

We can argue for days about the complexities of the word "nigger" itself, but when you are blatantly inaccurate in your premise it is hard to take you seriously in this discussion about using it for an album title. I suggest before you attempt to slander and judge Nas, you should do some research on who he really is and what his intentions have always been.

The Mo'Kelly Report said...

Very quickly...I insulted his actions...naming your CD 'Nigger' is a stupid thing to do.

The ills of "the streets" don't justify EMBRACING the mentality therein.

Besides, Nas the multi-millionaire lives nowhere close to the streets.

If you want "inaccuracies,"...

I am the one who lives, works, mentors youth and goes to church in the hood.

Nas can't really "tell me" anymore about "the streets" than the next man.

But like I said, it's not about the zip code...it's about the mentality.

In fact, here's the form letter response...it's easier to do that.


I would "define" intellectual in terms of an amalgam. It's how you think, how you approach dialogue and how you develop your opinions before you espouse them. All are essential. Only talking to the streets is definitely not "intellectual."

Intellectuality demands a far wider tent in nature. "Stay out of our business" is not displaying intellectuality, it's immature and fear of being exposed. Usually indicative of a hypersensitivity to being ill-informed. Only articulating your "theses" in the most base of terms and undertaking the most base and simplistic issues is antithetical to intellectualism. Intellectualism is the combination of such disciplines as the theological, philosophical, and historical to engage in INTELLIGENT (root of intellectuality) debate.

If it's not approached or founded in intelligence...it's not intellectual. By definition, action and his reaction...all three are directly opposite intellectuality. Nas is "smart" but this is not intellectuality, it's childish. Nas is intelligent, but this is not in any way demonstrative of it. He's savvy, but this isn't proof of it.

He's taking the low road and trying to tell us it's the high one. When you combine your thorough knowledge of history, theology, philosophy and other disciplines, it's readily apparent he's way off base. But you have to have the foundation in place to know better. When your "best" comeback is "I'm talking to the streets, stay out of our MF business," clearly you're ill-prepared to "intellectually" address this issue...and already he's rebutted himself.

It's 2007, and the "best" of Nas is trying to get everyone "used" to hearing the N-word...to achieve what end ultimately?

So we won't think of its history, won't be bothered by the memories of segregation?

Won't happen playa.

Also, if one has to pay $18.95 to see IF it is anything of substance, then already it is tainted. Because as it lines music shelves and stores unpurchased, it is doing more evil than one knows.

A man can have a DVD with a man ejaculating all over a woman...and argue that inside the DVD he will explain the joys and importance of a meaningful, healthy sexual relationship...but in the meantime, children everywhere are ill-prepared to process the initial image on the cover and often times don't digest the whole DVD with proper guidance.

A 13-yr old child isn't fundamentally prepared to have these types of discussions without the proper foundation. Another reason why Richard Pryor's albums weren't available for children. Lest not we forget that fact either.

This is simply wrong all the way around. We need to stop running to justify meaningless endeavors. Some things are just wrong and unnecessary and we as a people should know better.

The moment any of you see the CD 'Kike' on sale...come see me.

But you will see the slogan "NEVER AGAIN" plastered everywhere. Coincidence? I think not.

Wayne T. said...

Before I respond specifically to your points, I am curious as to your opinion on if he called his CD "The N-Word" would you be just as outraged?

You say "the ills of the streets don't justify EMBRACING the mentality therein." Well, actually if you want to have a strong influential voice in the streets (as Nas has done consistently for 15 years), then you do have to "embrace" the mentality to a certain extent. Otherwise, no one in the streets will pay attention to you if they feel you can't relate to the struggle on a personal level.

You say Nas is a "multi-millionaire who lives nowhere close to the streets" and imply that he shouldn't act like he understands those in the streets if he's not living it. First off, Nas really isn't that rich. Second, the art form is fictional that is why at times Nas plays the character of the mentality of someone in the midst of the struggle.

You say "Nas can't really tell me anymore about the streets than the next man." No one is saying that he can. But, Nas definitely has a much more powerful voice in the streets than you do. With all due respect, sir, to your services as a mentor and all your other positive causes, but Nas is much more influential to the streets. And I would argue that that takes a degree of intellectuality that you might not possess. Nas' goals have always been to be an uplifting voice to the streets and he has succeeded and continues to succeed. That is what he does, just like you do what you do. You have a voice for a whole different community.

You can go on and on about what you think it means to be an intellectual, but Nas is simply sticking to what he knows best. You say that Nas responding to some of the criticism with "stay out of our business" is some kind of showing of "immaturity" and "fear of being exposed." Well, you are taking that quote from an impromptu interview where Nas was just coming off of horrific slander and mischaracterization repeatedly from the Fox News channel regarding the Virginia Tech tribute and now with the album title, maybe he just doesn't want to have some kind of "intellectual" discussion about it right now. And maybe he'll decide that he never wants to really have some kind of sit-down with the NAACP and Jesse Jackson to show his "intellectuality," as you see it. Maybe he justs wants to speak to his audience and talk to them and let them decide. Like I said earlier, let the free market decide if they want to listen to Nas or not.

So you can call Nas' reaction childish, but after all he has been through lately, he has a right to not want to speak out extensively against some of the criticism he's been receiving. I mean, look at your latest article for example. You are an intelligent person, but your article was filled with inaccuracies and mischaracterizations, just like some of the news reports. Nas shouldn't agree to speak on this issue with these types until they are willing to do their research and get their facts straight beforehand.

You later use the analogy of the DVD cover and the joys of a healthy, sexual relationship, and how that could be misleading and confusing to a 13 year old child. First off, that DVD cover would never be on shelves for a child to see, just like an album with NIGGER printed on the cover of it will not be on store shelves for a child to buy. You have to be 17 to buy most rap albums anyway. Richard Pryor's albums weren't available to children and neither are Nas' albums.

Nas speaks to his audience and his audience is able to decide if they want to buy his albums. Not only that, he is inspiring enough that you get the student body at Virginia Tech requesting him for a tribute concert after the deadliest school shooting in US history.

It is unavailing to go after him like you have because he is always going to be a positive influence to his core audience and be able to get his message out. So before you go on about what "intellectuality" means to you, don't underestimate how much intellect it takes to get your voice to consistently be heard by millions of people for fifteen straight years.

The Mo'Kelly Report said...

Wrong...the CD WOULD be on shelves...it may be NC 17 to buy...but that doesn't keep it from being displayed.

And besides, you can turn on any radio and hear plenty of "adult" content so your point is moot in that respect.

The bottom line is this, we can go around and around, but "fighting" to justify naming your CD "Nigger" in 2007 is a fruitless endeavor.

Richard Pryor, Dave Chappelle, Comic View etc. haven't made a dent in taking the "sting" out of the N-Word.

To have all that power of hip-hop and have it chase it's tail all day long and have nothing to show for it other than some clothing styles, misogyny and some millionaires who usually end up in jail is a joke.

If the "best" of hip-hop is still trying to justify their use of the N-word, then clearly, hip-hop has nothing worthwhile to say.

The most egregious mistake of Nas is his "use" of this power. Although he's on record saying that "the streets" don't know who Medgar Evers is, but they know who he is...instead of rapping about Medgar Evers, we've got Oochie Wally and the like.

That's ignorant. So instead of teaching, he's fighting to "soften" the word Nigger.

Wow...talk about high aspirations.

Reaching higher than the tops of your shoelaces isn't much to ask.

Flip this on its head...if Nas is "successful" what does he achieve?


It's a fruitless endeavor. I'm so sick and tired of my people chasing after meaningless exploits.

The whole "street world" crying out that they don't mind being called Nigger anymore does nothing to uplift our people.

It's not what people call you it's what you answer to...

Nice to know he wants us all to be "comfortable" answering to "Nigger."

Yeah, Medgar Evers would've been proud. I'm sure he's pleased he took a bullet for that.

The Mo'Kelly Report said...

I'm not saying Nas isn't "smart"...I'm saying what he's doing is absolutely stupid.

It's not an intellectual entry point into the debate and he's not approaching it intellectually.


"Stay out of my MF business."


We're not ready as a people. Stepping over dollars to pick up pennies.

Gabriel said...

So, Mr. Kelly, should we lambast Dick Gregory for naming his autobiography "NIGGER!?" Mr. Gregory is and intellectual AND a comedian. Nas is not a shallow brother. Even though I don't use the n-bomb and discourage others around me in the use of it, there are a lot of more pressing issues right now. I agree that we need to reverse the psychologically damaging effect of our self image, and it is true that Nas is capitalizing off of controversy, but until I hear the album, I have to reserve my judgment. If I had outright dissed Dick Gregory's book because of the title, I would have missed out on one of the better books that I read as a very young man.

I suppose "Niggers Are Scared of Revolution" by The Last Poets boils your blood as well....

The Mo'Kelly Report said...


What year was Dick Gregory's book...after you answer that, tell me what year this is?

Dick Gregory and Pryor were visionary, but visionary in 1970 is not the same as 2007. It was a different time, different ethos...hell "Good Times" was considered visionary because it showed a whole complete Black family on TV.

"Visionary" is relative to its era. Branch Rickey was "visionary" for bringing Jackie Robinson to the Dodgers, but only having one Brotha on a team in 2007 is not "visionary."

Here's more contradiction. You CAN'T cite Dick Gregory in relation to Nas when Nas has already disregarded the civil rights leaders of the generation before him.

But also in retrospect, to quote Pryor (i.e. those who used 'Nigger' in the past) and not also acknowledge where he ended up on the use of "Nigger" is disingenuous. The man who used it most freely came full circle to not use it ever again.

That is a telling fact and can't be ignored.

Jesse and the NAACP came at him "correctly"...he tripped. Don't bring up Dick Gregory now.

It's 2007...if you've actually READ Dick Gregory, HEARD Richard Pryor, et. al...you'd know that this ISN'T groundbreaking.

The fact you city Dick Gregory only proves my point. It's 2007 and we're still FIGHTING to CALL OURSELVES Nigger.

Wow...that's pretty unimpressive and unimaginative.

Don't quote history to me when you obviously aren't knowledeable about it.

Still FIGHTING to call ourselves Nigger. Incredible.

Like I said, when "Kike" goes on sale...come see me.

Gabriel said...

Excuse me son, but I am an astute history student, in fact that's what my undergraduate degree is- a B.S. in History.

You are arguing against the title of something without knowing the content within. You are quite right that it is 2007 and we should be beyond calling ourselves the equivalent of a non-entity, but I would discourage judgment until hearing what is actually contained within the album itself. If a Jewish person wrote a book or released a spoken word album called "kike," I wouldn't automatically discount it without hearing it first.

Personally, I despise the word "nigger." As I stated before, I don't use that word in any every day usage, nor in any usage outside of quoting people who use it or within a parenthetical citation. We do need to reverse the negative images and portrayals of ourselves. That being said, if the songs on the CD are critical of our own negative self image and the term itself, then it would be truly groundbreaking.

If he is using it as a hook for the youth who have come to use the term more frequently than "brother" or "sister" and it's attached to a line, pole, and reel that steers them in a complete understanding, then it would be beneficial. Sometimes the ends do justify the means.

However, if the CD just embraces the n-bomb and tries to justify its continued use, then real critiques are warranted and I will be vocally and editorially challenging Nasir Jones myself.

Things aren't always as they seem.

Gabriel said...

One more thing. Some of us have been holding up entertainers as saviors or heroes. They're neither. You are quick to say it's 2007 and not the '60s and '70s when it comes to Gregory and Pryor but fail to apply the same caveat to Nas and others. The days are gone when entertainers and athletes actually stand for something. Capitalism has made their American dreams realities. There is no incentive in these "me first" times for black celebrities to stand for anything at all. I could call them Toms, but that wouldn't be too accurate. Just remember, the model for today's black celebrity, Michael Jordan, would not publicly support Harvey Gantt here in NC because "republicans buy shoes too." Hence a true racist, Jesse Helms, was re-elected. MJ is the prototype for today's apolitical-which is political-African American entertainer/athlete. I wish there were modern day Ali/Roberson/Ashe/Brown/Jabbars, but there aren't. The current structure discourages courage and rewards submission.

The Mo'Kelly Report said...


If your degree is in history, then these facts should be in your immediate memory...

Michael Jackson wasn't even allowed to release a song with the LYRICS...

"Jew me Kike me."

So what does that say about the "pursuit of Nigger?"

It's NOT about the content. It's about the title and the supposed GOAL that NAS has said he's pursuing.

"We're going to take the power from it."

Now as a HISTORY scholar as you allege yourself to be...

You should know that's not possible...unless you deny all knowledge of history itself and the historical significance of the word.

It's a fruitless endeavor.

Those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it.

The Mo'Kelly Report said...

And lastly Gabriel...if the forthcoming CD was a "denouncement" of the N-word, there would be no need to diss Jackson, Sharpton and the rest to "stay out of our business."

So we KNOW it's NOT about that.

And the HISTORICAL argument for "taking the power" of the N-Word, is to make it passe'.

So get your editorial ready.

It's a fruitless endeavor and we should not excuse it be they artist, entertainer or politician.

Low aspirations are not to be lauded.

Wayne T. said...

"Wrong...the CD WOULD be on shelves...it may be NC 17 to buy...but that doesn't keep it from being displayed."

The CD, if it has the title written boldly on the cover, will not be promptly displayed at the forefront for all children to see. Wal-Mart probably won't even be willing to accept the CD. The CD will be put in the background, just like nude magazines, etc.

"And besides, you can turn on any radio and hear plenty of 'adult' content so your point is moot in that respect."

Where? Have you listened to the radio lately? They bleep out anything and everything. There is much more "adult" content on network television and cable. They don't get bleeped out like they do on the radio, not even close. Hip-Hop on the radio is drastically over-censored. Unless you are talking about satellite subscription radio, but I doubt you are. So that point is not "moot."

And Nas isn't the one "fighting" to justify the title. You and a handful of others are the ones "fighting" his ideals and passing judgment on him without even listening to the album first, then voicing an opinion.

"To have all that power of hip-hop and have it chase it's tail all day long and have nothing to show for it other than some clothing styles, misogyny and some millionaires who usually end up in jail is a joke"

You are starting to get blatantly inaccurate again. "Nothing to show for..."? You cannot be serious. You are getting all your Hip-Hop information straight from BET, bad idea. And if Hip-Hop has "nothing worthwhile to say" then why is it easily the most dominant music genre in our culture today? On the singles charts right now, 9 out of the top 10 are Hip-Hop/R&B. That's out of all genres, you do the math. Obviously it is worthwhile to quite a few, millions upon millions.

You say with Nas we've got "Oochie Wally and the like." Once again, that's one song out of his collection of over 200. Then you say...

"Flip this on its head...if Nas is 'successful' what does he achieve?"

How about consistently being inspiring and influential to millions of people for fifteen years. Does that count for anything? Or, how about being so uplifting that he's asked by the Virginia Tech student body, whom the majority aren't even a part of his targeted audience, to perform after the deadliest school shooting in US history. Does that count for something, too? If Nas is so harmful and showing signs of "stupidity" and "immaturity" why wouldn't they ask someone like you to speak instead of him? Or is the entire student body just too ignorant to know what would help best in their healing process?

"Nice to know he wants us all to be "comfortable" answering to 'Nigger.'"

There you go again, with some more absurd insinuations. Nas is merely keeping the topic alive and wanting the issue of race relations and discrimination in this country to be at the forefront. You say he's not "approaching this intellectually." Well, we will wait and see how many people listen to his voice and what he wants to say on this album. We'll see if he gets his message through to millions of people, then we will decide who is the real intellectual.

The Mo'Kelly Report said...

Wayne...don't overthink this one...stay with me. Focus...concentrate.

The title 'Nigger' is simply a horrible way to represent African-American people, irrespective of its contents.

We have nooses around trees and doorknobs every day.

If Nas isn't "savvy" enough to find some other way to get his message out, that's a Nas problem, not a Mo'Kelly problem.

It's wrong. I'm not suggesting that the CONTENT of the CD isn't deep or couldn't be profound.

But the TITLE is the issue here.

The TITLE is the WRONG message to send young people.

There's a right way and wrong way to have any conversation. This is the wrong way to enter into it.

The Mo'Kelly Report said...

The movie "Do the Right Thing" was a profound movie...

Titling it "Fear of the Big Black Dick" wasn't the way to go to get that message out.)

(Which coincidentally was the "subtitle" of the movie, a secondary name that Spike Lee referred to the movie as.

THE TITLE is the issue. There have been 10,000 more vulgar and unacceptable things in a hip-hop CD than the word Nigger...so it's obviously NOT about the proposed contents...

It's about the TITLE. The title exists independent of whether people BUY the CD.

If you have to BUY a CD and listen to a whole CD just in the hopes of better understanding a wildly offensive title...

The title's wrong.

Don't over think this Wayne.

The Mo'Kelly Report said...

And country music used to be the most dominant music culture...it doesn't make it profound...

Disco music used to be the most dominant music form...it doesn't make it profound.

Rock used to be the most...


It just means it's the most popular...i.e. pop music, the most heavily purchased.

And in the last year, that's not true of hip-hop anymore, so the facts are more on my side than yours.

Hip-hop HAS power...just does nothing effective with it.

You need to research agendainc.com

That'll itemize hip-hops power in terms of corporate America and then you'll see hip-hop does little other than sell other people's products and liquor.

Anonymous said...

Mo'Kelly, I agree with everything you said, brother. I don't understand the ignorance and stupidity of some black Americans. The idea of the word n----- being "positive" is like black Americans getting slavery reparations - IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN!!! This idea of "taking power from the word" is ridiculous. First of all, words are not just words. Ever heard of lexicology? It deals with the study, meaning and significance of words. Martin Luther King, Jr. inspired people do to great things with his speeches. Adolf Hitler inspired people do to evil things with his speeches. Every word in all languagues have a history and a meaning. As you stated, the n-word embodies racism and hatred. That is where the power is. The only way "power" can be taken away is to go back in time to 1619 and correct all the wrongs we suffered. Of course, that is literally impossible.

Racism exists. All of the racists will eat this up. I hope this whole thing doesn't happen. I really do.

Antonio M.

christopherlee said...

Is anyone familiar with the visual artist Kara Walker. I recommend googling her.

christopherlee said...

Hip hop like all of the other music styles you listed is JUST a genre. Some artists within it are good some are not. Pop music for the most part is made by and for teens and very young adults. therefore it tends VERY OFTEN toward the juvenile and rebellious. It's pathetic that people take it SO seriously.

The Mo'Kelly Report said...

No, hip-hop is not "just" a genre as its messages have had a disproportionate impact on young people and young people of color specifically.

Hip-hop for many young people, especially without parental guidance find their supposed mores and ethics in hip-hop. That's a problem.

That's not the case with grunge rock. That's not the case with Britney Spears. Yes, that's a "rebellious" time in life, but a key component in hip hop is guns, drugs and misguided dreams of materialism.

Also, how many other "genres" frequently reference Hennessy, Vodka, marijuana, and other questionable activities...content available to children.

It's NOT the same thing.

Hip hop can't have it both ways. Hip-hop can't on one hand argue how "influential" it is (and it is) or how powerful it is (and it is) and not be held accountable how the power is used or the messages it puts out. (and they will be.)

The boy bands of pop music didn't influence anyone to do anything other than buy their music. Same with country, same with rock' n' roll.

Rebellious? Maybe...but not the same in the least.

christopherlee said...

Rock Culture, war resistance, free love, drugs, promiscuity..none of those were influenced by the 50's 60's 80's pop rock artists? Are you SERIOUS?

christopherlee said...

The blame is not on pop stars. It's the cultural matrix, or mold that yields the "types" of behaviours that artists reflect and highlight. Teach children better english skills. Better schooling in both everyday courtesies as well as the laws of the land. Teach them a reverence for responsible mating and courtship and family. Then you will see them caring for music with a more positive message.

Anonymous said...

Nas > Cornel who?

The Mo'Kelly Report said...

Only an "anonymous" person would put Nas above Dr. Cornel West.

Yeah, I wouldn't put my name on that either.

And Christopher, I wouldn't compare the rock/hippies movement to hip-hop for the reason that the rock movement I would argue didn't SPUR a generation, I would say it was a REFLECTION of a generation.

It was a reflection of anti-war sentiment and social protest...but in no way did it reach as many people as hip-hop does today if for no other reason that rock was ONLY music.

There was no internet, there was no portable music (i.e. iPod) there were no videos, there were no 10 music awards shows, there wasn't music television.

The rock movement didn't encompass as wide a variety of people and ethnicities (and even age groups) that hip-hop does.

Hip-hop is FAR more powerful.

It is just FAR LESS of a footnote in historical relevance.

Which goes back to my idea of it being wasted power.

Also, you didn't have 8 year old kids as a norm listening to rock music and espousing the ideals of it. You do with hip-hop.

FAR wider range in reach, power and influence.

The Mo'Kelly Report said...

Not to mention Christopher...the free love, social protest era of Rock wasn't more than 10 years...arguably.

Hip-hop from just the incarnation of gangsta rap is more than 16 years and running.

No comparison.

We have adults out there acting a fool who have not lived a day without living, breathing and having their lives influenced by hip-hop.

The Elvis generation of "rock" is not the same as the hippie generation. The hippie generation is not the same as the grunge generation. There aren't many common threads there.

But in hip-hop, even back to the days of KRS-One and criminal minded, it's been connected to the streets. That common thread has never changed. And in that light...hip-hop has about 30 years under its belt.

I stand by what I say, the power of hip-hop as a music artform dwarfs all others in a historical, geographical and demographic sense.

christopherlee said...

Your right in your definition of magnitude of reach compared to today but wrong in your statement that past generations weren't influenced by the pop stars and culture of their day. It's an idiotic argument though in the first place. The market place is filled with worthwhile songs, films, books and messages. Lot's of kids from good homes can listen to Snoop Dogg, watch The Godfather or a Tarantino movie and not be effected. The issue is the production of a discerning intelligent audience that can tell fantasy from reality, ENTERTAINMENT from social reality.
Change black culture itself. Promote reading, rigorous argument and critique. The capacity for young people to handle basic business writing, present themselves in a job interview..THINK AND SPEAK CLEARLY with some concern for OTHERS> How many black kids know ANYTHING about what's happening in Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Nigeria etc? How many of them plan to visit Africa ...or Rome for that matter?
Stop this piffle about rap artists. They are undereducated kids like their audience.

The Mo'Kelly Report said...

I keep thinking of these key points...

The American music artforms you've mentioned Christopher did not transcend American culture. It largely did not move beyond American borders. They were "Americana."

Hip-hop dominates in Japan, France, there is hip-hop in virtually every major language on this planet.

THAT right there puts it in a power class all by itself.

Hip-hop influences the world. Nothing of what you mentioned influenced anything much beyond our own borders.

There's CHRISTIAN rap, White Power Rap, female rap, Japanese rap...etc.

No comparison. The world did not change because of the American anti-war protesters or and their effect didn't continue after the fall of Saigon.

Hip-hop has lasted from President Carter to the second President Bush.

The Mo'Kelly Report said...

No, it's not an idiotic argument. You just contradicted yourself.

You can't on one hand "concede" hip-hops unrivaled influence and then say that the issues which are promulgated by the undereducated "leaders" of hip-hop are not then important to address.

When something has that much power...you MUST speak out and debunk stupidity that has a disproportionate effect.

You as an educated adult can dismiss it...but to a child in the formative years...not as easy.

I'm not having this discussion for the sake of "informed adults."

But it would be "idiotic" to ignored the discussion knowing full well the consequences of its impact on young people.

christopherlee said...

American music didn't transccend American culture.??? What planet have you been living on? Ever heard of Michaael Jackson? Madonna? Brit bands like ummm..the Beatles, Stones, ? Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Thesse acts play ALL OVER THE WWORLD!! I am writing on my friends MAC so I apologiz e for the typos. The bottom line is it's ENTERTAINMENT!!! Get over it. By your kids a Stevie Wonder CD. If you want positive messages. It's all so banal to argue over what "ressponsibility" hip hop has, like they were elected officials. Would you ask that of Mick Jagger? Teach your kids to read books, write a business proposal ..ACTUALLY PLAY AN INSTRUMENT..and then they won't be oso overly concerned with this valikd but OVERPLAYED music style called hip hop.

The Mo'Kelly Report said...

Christopher, you've WILDLY missed the point.

People listening to Michael Jackson, Madonna and going to their concerts is not the same as DOING as their music idols do.

Don't tell me that Michael Jackson has done more to influence the youth of the world than hip-hop.

Being a "fan" of someone's music is not the same as changing the world WITH the music.

Michael Jackson, Madonna, et al. are music icons...but that's not the same as affecting the socio-political climate around the world as hip-hop has.

You're just can't equate the two.

Influence? Yes. But the music career of Michael Jackson hasn't changed "the world" in which we live.

It doesn't inspire protest, political commentary, influence clothing styles for all 30 years of existence. With the exception of 4 years at the HEIGHT of Jackson's career, he NEVER influenced clothing styles. Hip hop always has.

Although Michael Jackson is no longer relevant...hip hop is. So really, you're just proving my point.

We can agree to disagree, but the facts are still on my side.

Hip hop has had more effect on this world than any singular artist or genre. The facts simply do not support your contention.

The Mo'Kelly Report said...

Hell, has there ever been a "Michael Jackson" channel?


Has there ever been a "Michael Jackson-only" radio station?


But there are stations around THE WORLD which only play hip-hop.

Yes, hip-hop is entertainment, but it's not viewed as such for many of its listeners. It's a way of life, if not a religion.

If you did more research on hip-hop you'd already know about KRS-One's Temple of Hip-Hop movement.

The facts are simply not on your side.

Martin A. said...

If you had presented both sides of the case, I had taken you seriously - but that wasn't the case. Of all the (former) ganster rappers out, Nas is arguably the one that has made most uplifting songs (or at least songs with a socio-/political content). So please, if you mention "You Owe Me", mention "I Can", "The World Is Yours", "Black Girl Lost", "Fetus", "One Mic" etc.

Nas has made straight trash (or mental junk food if you want). But please: he is lusting, breathing, eating, greedy human being like so most of us. He represents both. I do not like all of his aspects, but I do acknowledge that they're parts of his personality. Just like Malcom X had stains on his person that I dislike - the same goes for most of the greek philosophers.

christopherlee said...

I don't miss the point african's in america have influenced music an d pop culture thru all of the modern age from blues, jazz, r & B , gospel, discco and now hip hop. But it is still in the cattegory of arts and (leisure) entertainment. If all of the hip ho op artists became perfect ladeez and g gentelman that would remedy the negro's predicament in western civilization? Can the tail wag the dog?

The Mo'Kelly Report said...

Yeah Martin, when you compare Nas to the gangster rappers of his era...like I said, he's "saying something."

And if you put me on the court with elementary school kids...I'm Michael Jordan.

Thank you for validating my "dirty water" point.

The Mo'Kelly Report said...

If Nas' "greatness" is validated in reference to his "peers" of rap today...uh, that's not a compelling argument to Nas' greatness.

That's not impressive.

George said...

I am glad you respond to those who make comments. I am not here to so call "bash" you for what you wrote but to defend Nas.

Starting with the "men are not men" statement about the artist name that emphasize being young. Most of the artist decide on a name long before they become establish. Often times, these guys are 16, 17 18 yrs old when they decide they want to be called "lil" wayne or Young Jeezy.

You do make several good points in your article especially with the Dr. West statement. I would never compare Dr. West and Nas.

I notice a comment stating that maybe Nas should speak of Dr. West in his songs, thats a good thought, maybe you should somehow bring your writings to the inner city youth to give them a chance to read it if you dont already. Nas is trying to speak to them, you should try as well. Again, if you don't already.

I do support Nas stating he is a street disciple. Young men listen to him and he gives them inspiration to become better. One of the newer artist today, Lupe Fiasco, contibutes his hip hop career to Nas. It was Nas who taught him Hip Hop was not just viloence, sex and drugs. Every track may not depict this, but more times than not he is making a valid attempt to enlighten. May not be the most factual but it is an attempt none the less. Who else is making an attempt?? Who will the Streets Listen to? It is true that 70 percent of hip hop sales go to suburbs kid but that fact is heavily skewed espcially with the downloading issues and there is just more suburbs kids than inner city kids so of course they are buying more cds. The streets still hear his music.

Yes Nas is not perfect, and this title is controversial but i bet
this title is provoking thought in the mind of a young african american male somewhere in the inner city that you yourself would never reach. Jesse Jackson can't reach him, the kid may not even know Dr. West. So why bash a guy that's trying?

Yes, it is easy to say he is doing it for record sales, but does he need record sales? Is not still in it for the money? Maybe, I am not sure but nonetheless it is bringing attention to a subject that many individual want to ignore and shouldnt.

The Mo'Kelly Report said...

George...in the end, I believe the discussion of "Nigger" is unnecessary and unwarranted. And it definitely doesn't need to be a name of a CD. And for Nas to make it the "title" makes it more about shock value and selling records than really making a statement.

You shouldn't have to pay 18.95 for Nas to say something important...if it is at all.

If he has a true fan base (and he does) the gimmicks aren't necessary. Besides, there shouldn't even BE any discussion about the merits of "Nigger." We're the only people on the face of this earth who can't seem to understand that.

Jamal Wilford said...

I hadn't heard of Mo' Kelly until I stumbled onto this article when trying to find out when Nas' new album would be coming out. While it is annoying that he repeatedly talks about himself in third person, there are far greater faults to be found within his diatribe against Nas' new album.

Kelly states: "Nas is "free" to title his CD Nigger or any other equally misguided nomenclature he sees fit; regardless of how ill-conceived, illogical and asinine it may happen to be.
But why in the hell WOULD anyone (Black) WANT to do so?"

Mr. Kelly, do you understand why Dick Gregory used the same title for his book? It was to make an intelligent statement. There is no reason that Nasir Jones is incapable of making a similarly intelligent statement.

Mr. Kelly, you blast Nas for being a disciple of the streets by claiming that men of the streets are not men, but boys by citing examples from the hip hop world. However, Nas is acknowledging that he was raised by the streets, and he is a man, letting young people in the streets know that they can do the same. Many other rappers that I presume you would not call boys also acknowledge that they are from the streets as well, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, and Common, to name a few. By claiming that he is a disciple of the streets, Nas is only speaking the truth of how he was raised. For you to pull out a number of other people who were raised by the streets, and claim Nas is them is preposterous.

I agree with your point that Nas switches back and forth from being intellectual and not, just as you do in you article. However, I do not find that you are being more consistently intellectual than Nas is in his music.

The Mo'Kelly Report said...

Jamal...if you actually think that Nas is largely more intellectual than I am...uh, you're free to have that wrong opinion.

As for Common et. al being "from" the streets, I made it exceptionally clear the distinction of being "from" the streets and embracing the street mentality. It's there, you missed it.

And if you agree that Nas switches back in forth...you contradict yourself.

I don't switch back and forth. I can be humorous or serious, but I'm consistent in my vision and goal.

Lastly, Dick Gregory was 1964.

To do the same in 2007 is not visionary.

Good Times was a "visionary" show in 1977...but in 2007?

Jackie Robinson being the only Black man in baseball was "visionary" in 1948...but in 2007?

And again, don't compare Nas to Dick Gregory on any level. Dick Gregory is/was a civil rights leader.

The same ilk that Nas dissed when those civil rights leaders came to him and said he shouldn't do it.

You can't at one moment embrace the legacy of the civil rights movement and also diss it in the same breath in terms of Nas' actions.

KJCAIN80 said...

An author named Dick Gregory wrote a best selling novel named "NIGGER" and it was criticaly acclamied for its content, and the social message it possessed. Not merely judged on its title. Perhaps you should check ito out.

The Mo'Kelly Report said...

Dick Gregory's book was 1964!!!!!! They hadn't even signed the Voting Rights or Civil Rights Acts...

Next you'll be telling me that Good Times in 1977 was "revolutionary."

Yeah...in 1977.

And yes, I know the book well.

Remember Nas was the one who dissed the leaders of the civil rights movement (Jesse and co.) you (and Nas) can't try to go back and claim Dick Gregory now to suit an argument.

If Jesse needs to "stay out" then Dick Gregory does too.

"Nigger" in 2008 is not revolutionary. Read Dick Gregory's 1964 book as it is part of civil rights history. We don't need a CD by Nas in 2008 trying to do (and fail) with what already has been done.

The Mo'Kelly Report Headline Animator