Monday, October 22, 2007

"Shock Value Is Always Good Marketing" by Ardamus

So, you heard about the new title of Nas's album, right? Homie called it "N!gga" and then Def Jam told him he had to change it. So he changed it to "Nigger". Like, Def Jam told him to correct the spelling. Ha. One thing with Nas you have to agree on is that he trying to reach people out there more with his music using basic words that attract your eye. No one would give a damn if he called his album anything else. But he's smart and not just doing that to boost sales but to get a conversation going about the state of hip hop and the black community.

But lets take a step back and look at whats happened in hip hop latey for a second. We've got Oprah putting on a conference with Common, Rev. Ben Chavis, Kevin Liles, and Russell Simmons to discuss the state of hip hop due to what happened with Don Imus. Before that, Nas struck with "Hip Hop Is Dead" last year; which prompted every fucking interview I read to ask the artist if hip hop is dead. If you have to ask, then its dead to you is how I feel. And also, there was other things going on. Such as Cam'ron on 60 minutes with Anderson Cooper saying that he'd stay silent and not be a snitch; stating that it is a code of ethics that come into play from his background. And the whole 50 Cent vs. Kanye thing which kind of set them as having roles in the hip hop game being Kanye as the "concious" type and 50 being "gangsta". Which doesn't matter who was who because they each walked away with a shitload of money that most of will never see in our lifetime. And lets not forget the NAACP trying to bury then N-Word which didn't have much of an affect as far as I know. I bet I know someone who went to the N-word and soon as I saw them I heard "nigga please" or "whats my nigga?". Sorry, I was being sarcastic but you know what I mean. At least they tried.

So, what do all those things have in common? Controversy. Its keeping hip hop alive in a way that people do not see. At this point, hip hop is being asked to take responsiblity for certain things that are being put on the public for people to hear.And furthrmore, people keep talking about how they want more of a message in hip hop so, therefore, maybe Nas has a message within this album that the hip hop audience can grasp. Nas naming his album "Nigger" is a double-edged sword. On the good end of the spectrum, that album could raise more awareness of our language in hip hop music; as well as tackle issues that our black communities would like to neglect. The bad comes in where you have the majority of who buy albums, who are surburban caucasians, taking a title like this and running with the word in order to make it seem like its ok to say nigger. Not like it hasn't been happening already but a reinforcement of this amongst a bunch of dumb-ass wanna be 8 Mile assholes could happen. Just having that word in forefront would either make people turn to it or turn away from it. Either way, its gets that attention with the shock value, even if it is done without that sole intention.

And another to consider is that he could be following the footsteps of Dick Gregory's "Nigger: An Autobiography". If thats the case, then my homie K-Beta already beat Mr. Nasir Jones to the punch (; which is an album people need to hear. Regardless of what people may think of this move, its a good challenge for hip hop because its probably the most blunt and straight forward genre of music out there. And with messages that artists can encode in their music, there's not telling what people will be able to grasp from what they say in the near future. With an album titled like that, it might be worth a listen since the title has a deeper meaning behind. Never what you'll expect.

Listening to music to corrupt my brain,


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