From calling for George Bush's head (prematurely) to celebrating Obama’s 2008 Presidential victory on Young Jeezy’s “My President,” Nas has never held his tongue when it comes to politics. But in a new open letter published on Mass Appeal, the Queens emcee turns his attention to Donald Trump and calls a spade a spade.
"We all know a racist is in office. People can talk their shit. Comedians can sound racist. People can go through their moments of that shit, but when you have the responsibility of being President and you carry on like that, you send a strong message to people outside of your group that they ain’t worth shit."
Previously, Nas called Trump “a toupee wearin’ liar” on Robin Thicke’s “Deep” and rapped “Celebrity Apprentice a devil show” on DJ Khaled’s “Nas Album Done.” But this is the first time we’re seeing one of the most respected voices in rap call out one of the most destructive presidents in recent memory. Better late than never, right?
Nas’ open letter is less of an attack on Trump and more of a powerful reminder that policies are more important than personalities in politics, especially when they affect everyday people. It's through his music—and, of course, his writing—that Nas chooses to address these issues.
"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."
While Nas hasn’t released a lot of music lately in which to speak on these issues, his creativity, ambition and success, which survived through the Reagan and Bush eras, still stand as a shining light during dark days, even if he was one of the lucky few.
"I’m doing all the things I ever dreamed of, even though there was a Ronald Reagan, even though there was laws that ruthlessly destroyed the black community, put tons of us in prison on trumped-up charges, and put us in jail for a long time over crimes that other people get a smack on the hand for."
Nas ends the letter by writing, “So, I don’t got time for lippin’. I got time for actions. Anytime I’m speaking it’s action.” With a North American tour alongside the equally outspoken Lauryn Hill kicking off in September and his long-awaited album hopefully dropping before then, expect Nas to be in the thick of the action in 2017.