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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A Poll: Is Nas’ Forthcoming Nigger Really the Most Offensive Album Title in History?

posted by on November 7 at 11:00 AM


Last week Nas announced heís naming his new album Nigger. He says (to MTV News):

“I wanna make the word easy on mutha——as’ ears,” he explained. “You see how white boys ain’t mad at ‘cracker’ ‘cause it don’t have the same [sting] as ‘nigger’? I want ‘nigger’ to have less meaning [than] ‘cracker.’ With all the bullsh— that’s going on in the world, racism is at its peak. I wanna do the sh— that’s not being done. I wanna be the artist who ain’t out. I wanna make the music I wanna hear.

Still, the music community is torn on Nas’ choice. Jay-Z, LL Cool J, and more support his decision, but 50 Cent says it’s “stupid” and Rev. Al Sharpton doesn’t approve either. Some are calling it the most offensive album title ever and are planning to boycott should Island/Def Jam go through with releasing it (which they are).

Musicís history is wrought with records with names far more offensive than Nigger. Take a look at the list below. Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water? BAD! Fiona Apple and her 90 word diatribe? TERRIBLE! And Barbara Streisand’s Christmas album? She’s Jewish! Nigger’s got nothin’ on these.

Which do you think is a more offensive album title?

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Thank you for doing this, Megan.

Also, I'd like to toss a nod to one of the great lost awful album titles of all time, Pariah's To Mock a Killingbird.

Posted by David Schmader | November 7, 2007 11:36 AM

Nigger: also the title of Dick Gregory's autobiography. Fuck so-called black leaders and the Bill O'Reillys of the world that seem to work in concert.

and I hate that fucking Limp Bizkit title, always have. co-sign.

Posted by lar | November 7, 2007 11:52 AM

You are remiss in not mentioning Richard Pryor's comedy LP, "That Nigger's Crazy."

And, really, this news item deserves more than a stupid, jokey poll. Nas is a major recording artist, this is a pretty huge story with potentially giant ramifications.

Posted by kerri harrop | November 7, 2007 12:26 PM

the reason it's not bigger news is because his argument is so 15 years ago.

remember the whole queer nation/act up thing with taking back the words "faggot" and "dyke"?

remember dan savage, for years and years, using the moniker "hey faggot" in his column? (before dumping it as people became more comfortable with it/cared less)

i hope his album isn't as boring as his argument is.

the jokey poll actually makes this entertaining and not as maddeningly regressive as you are telling us it should be. (and it is.)

oh, and i would have added The Very Best Of Moby to the list. total oxymoron.

Posted by terry miller | November 7, 2007 1:01 PM

Terry: Agreed.

Nas's quote about wanting black people to respond to "nigger" like white folks respond to "cracker" displays the unfortuante shallowness of his concept.

Cracker doesn't inspire the same ire as nigger not because of pervasive use, but because crackers were never enslaved. Cracker is easy to brush off because, historically, the crackers have been the power brokers, and making fun of the "powerful" is kosher in ways degrading the already degraded will never be.

I like Nas, and Nas likes in-your-face album titles. After Hip-Hop is Dead and Nigger, I look forward to Nas' Fucking Your Grandma Up the Ass.

Posted by David Schmader | November 7, 2007 1:09 PM

Nas is ToTaLLy ExTReMe!!! He must have been in the middle of a sky surfing sesh when he thought this one up...

Oh, and I've got another crazy idea for Nas: make a good album

Posted by Brandon | November 7, 2007 1:33 PM

In my ongoing search for the most offensive album title constructions, there are two leading contenders (neither of which exists to my knowledge):

Rape Anthems
Congratulations, Faggot

I think both of these are so brutal as to render them absolutely unusable to anyone outside of the Italian metal scene (see the cover for ...Because She Didn't Wanna Fuck here). Yowza.

Posted by danmohr | November 7, 2007 2:31 PM

@ 3 - Kerri...critiquing Megan Seling's journalism is like critiquing Corky from Life Go's On's dance moves.

@ 4 - C'mon Terry, the album title's not 15 years ago, it's 15 minutes ago. If he had any kinda marketing savvy he'd call it "Scum N***** Without A Soul".

I know this much about what Nas is saying in that interview: that word's gonna be alot harder to nullify than cracker is. That's for sure. Cracker has no teeth. It's actually empowering in it's origins. It's a contraction of whipcracker. Plus it sounds hilarious. Hard K sounds are almost always funny.

If you could cut the N Bomb down and count the rings in it's trunk, you'd see it's rings and rings and rings of ugly where cracker just isn't.

If I were Nas I might not sweat the new album title so much. I'd get 40 Water on the horn and try to figure out an instantly day ruining epithet for whites. Figure out a nice, concise 2 syllable word that means the same as "your parents hate each other, you dress and talk stupid, you usually smell bad and you need to stop calling 911 everytime a black guy farts"

Posted by Don't Tase Me, Bro! | November 7, 2007 3:25 PM

Figure out a nice, concise 2 syllable word that means the same as "your parents hate each other, you dress and talk stupid, you usually smell bad and you need to stop calling 911 everytime a black guy farts"

wow. on The Proof we call this 'BODIED'.

Posted by lar | November 7, 2007 3:37 PM

@4: To compare "nigger" with "faggot" is insulting. No doubt they are both hateful terms but, come on.

@5: It may be a shallow concept but, by naming his record "Nigger," Nas is forcing a whole lot of people to think about the racism that this country operates with.

He is a major artist, with significant sales numbers. How will chains like Wal Mart respond to a record called "Nigger?" How will newpapers that refuse to print the word "Nigger" review the record? What will promo materials and collateral and POS look like and say?

"Nigger" is still the single most offensive word in the English language. It makes "fuck" and "cunt" look like sweet, soft cupcakes.

And, @8: in the words of that Partridge Family cracker David Cassidy: I think I love you.

Posted by kerri harrop | November 7, 2007 4:10 PM

kerri, i'm sorry that's retarded.

why is comparing the two insulting? they're both derrogatory terms. they've both been taken back by their respective communities years ago.

or are you saying that gay struggle is not the same as black struggle? that's such a tired fucking argument, girl. that's the same argument ken hutcherson uses in his church to demonize gay rights. you really believe that shit?


as far as use of the word for ads and pos. when was the last time you saw walmart sell anything remotely and overtly gay friendly (and don't go saying "britney!") fucking walmart doesn't sell anything remotely gay oriented. they actively try to espouse a conservative world view on their customers, by keeping anything provacative under lock and key, if selling it at all. who the fuck cares what those nutcases think. and do you really think sonic boom or easy streets is going to put the album somewhere else other than right on the top shelf of their new releases?

the argument is still dumb and old, and it shows how little nas has paid attention to the world around him.

if "nigger" was so offensive, why does every rapper already use it in rhymes and on their albums that are selling to mostly white audiences already?

seriously, just not very well thought out. it's just so bone-headed of him to try to play the provacatuer, when he sounds so dumb doing it.

Posted by terry miller | November 7, 2007 4:42 PM

yeah, but here we are arguing over it, terry. something is working.

Posted by jz | November 7, 2007 4:55 PM

who wants to party with terry, huh?


basically, if you aren't willing to look past whatever name nas chose to sell more records- that is if you aren't more interested in this album's content than its title- you aren't speaking my language and i can't understand you.

you know he doesn't have some "master plan" about calling his album nigger. that quote sounds like something he shot off and didn't think about. he does that in interviews a lot. it's clearly the most controversial album name nas could possibly get away with, so he's going for it.

(in nathan barley voice) good on ya, m'n***a!

Posted by ndrwmtsn | November 7, 2007 5:14 PM

While it's not so much the album as it is the song titles, nothing will ever compare to my horror at being introduced to Cannibal Corpse in my sophomore year of high school...."Stripped, Raped, and Strangled"...."Fucked with a Knife"..."Forcefed Broken Glass"... C'mon...

Posted by cunei4m | November 7, 2007 5:30 PM

Terry, Wal Mart would sell nothing but gay shit if this were that episode of South Park.

Supply and demand, ya know? Gay culture co-opting has yet to catch on with the Wal Mart set. 'Til that day it's all Eminem costumes, bootleg A&F and West Coast Choppers shwag 'til the wheels fall off (or they turn in to 30s).

And you can't go calling Kerri retarded. That's just chinky.

Posted by Do The Riot Thing | November 7, 2007 5:41 PM

i didn't call her retarded. just what she said.

expect to have sasha f-j all over this in next weeks new yorker! ha!

now had he called the album "nigger" and had walmart shoppers on the cover....brilliant.

Posted by terry miller | November 7, 2007 6:49 PM

the fuck you call me?!?

Posted by lar | November 7, 2007 7:42 PM

also: i don't equate 'faggot' with 'nigger' but i don't give a fuck, their both tools of oppression, even if they've been retrofitted for fun.
i don't play that shit. homophobia is racist!

Posted by lar | November 7, 2007 7:51 PM

Hey Terry, I have neither the time nor the inclination to get into an internet argument about "nigger" vs. "faggot." Although, man, there's a video game just waiting to happen.

Would be happy to discuss with you in person any time, though.

With regard to Wal Mart and similar chains (Target, Best Buy, etc.): yeah, they suck. Yeah, their worldview is awful. But, bottom line: those chains are responsible for a HUGE amount of sales and exposure for any artist.

Bumfuck, Nowheresville does not have an Easy Street. There are lots of consumers that only buy from major chains, not independents like Sonic Boom. How a record is marketed and sold to the masses is important for any artist and most certainly a priority for the label they are beholden to.

I am old enough to remember the big stink Wal Mart made about Nirvana's "In Utero." I am interested enough in the business of music to wonder how the hell you advertise a record called "Nigger."

I am sorry if you think this is retarded. Everyone can go back to talking about lol cats and disco remixes and sunglasses.

Posted by kerri harrop | November 7, 2007 8:16 PM

"lol cats and disco remixes and sunglasses"

...will be the name of my autobiography. thank you, kerri.

also, would that video game be anything like "alien vs predator"? cuz that game sucked ass. (for the record: alien is gay; predator is black)

Posted by Eric Grandy | November 7, 2007 8:27 PM

@20: eric, i want points on that shit. or at least a thank you in the preface.

Posted by kerri harrop | November 7, 2007 8:56 PM

How will chains like Wal Mart respond to a record called "Nigger?"

The question for me is how will Nas respond when Wal Mart refuses to carry it with the title intact?

Posted by Paulus | November 7, 2007 11:03 PM

Raaawr semantics! Not you again!

Doorgun the villagers! We'll show them what happens to downloaders in Bartlesville!

Posted by Cap'N Sharkface | November 8, 2007 12:04 AM

(sigh) so why wasn't 'Hairway to Steven' on the list? All the Zep heads when was in high school wanted to hit me for owning that GREAT record. fucking rednecks...oh, sorry, I know thats hate speech...but I'm from rural North Carolina, so I can use that word. GAH!

Posted by nipper | November 8, 2007 12:12 PM

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