A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there is very strong language (the "N" word, "f--k," just to name a few) and content about controversial topics (race, inequality, poverty, power, the KKK, Nazis) that may be too direct for younger ears and minds to digest. There is a definite message that rapper Nas is trying to send, and in the end it is a positive one, but be aware that there is still a lot of anger and mature content behind the ideas.
What's the story?
Nas is more controversial than ever on his new Def Jam release UNTITLED. He examines and poetically dissects some of the nation's most divisive issues: race, inequality, poverty, power, and war. With smart, thought-provoking lyrics and the help of producers and artists like Busta Rhymes, Chris Brown, Keri Hilson, and Mykel, Nas has created an album that will not only solidify his place among the hip-hop world, but is sure to get people on all sides talking.
Is it any good?
Even if you aren't a fan of rap, Nas manages to force a bended ear to the issues he sings about on Untitled. Nas (Nasir Jones) isn't your typical angry rapper singing about hoes and money. He is angry, but he is also smart and eloquent in his examination of American society. Although the content is controversial and will no doubt invoke positive and negative criticism, there is brutal honesty and acknowledgment in his lyrics that takes the music to a different level. The first single "Hero," with Keri Hilson, has a catchy hook and beats that will make it good for mainstream while Nas declares he's "the only true rebel since the beginning/still in musical prison/still in jail for the flow/try tellin' Bob Dylan, Bruce, or Billy Joe they can't sing what's in their soul!" And "America," "Black President" (yes, it's about Obama), and "Sly Fox" are full of arguable content to chew on, and the media-frenzied track "N.I.*.*.E.R" declares "we are much more." This album is definitely much more than just your typical rap album, but it's still a lot of heavy content not appropriate for all ages.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the recent controversy over the original title of Nas' album that was dropped -- "N---r." Do you think it was an offensive or appropriate title given the content and overall message of the album? Should the title have been changed, why or why not? Would you buy an album with that title? What do you think about Nas' overall message about peace, equality, and ending racism? Do you agree with the indications of the song "Sly Fox?" -- in that Nas is suggesting that the media misleads us? How?