Nas has penned a letter offering a Black creative perspective that has been heard but not amplified in the Trump era.
In a piece titled “Actions Speak Louder Than Words,” Nas shoots straight from the hip on how he feels about politics and the current President of the United States. Through the article, Nas encourages readers to let their creativity and actions do the talking for them, instead of engaging in political debates that go nowhere.
“I don’t pay attention to politics at the moment,” admits Nas. “For what? There’s no reason. For me, it doesn’t make any sense. We all know a racist is in office. People can talk their sh*t. 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.”
He continues, “So why would I focus on that unless I’m in the political game? Unless I’m running for office I don’t have to pay attention to know that. If I ever vote again—when it’s time to vote again, and I feel like voting again—I don’t have to follow the news to know who I’m voting against. But then you wind up saying “Who’s the next motherf*cker coming in, and how does that help?”
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 f*ck.”
While Nas’ attitude can come off apathetic he does insist that he fighting the system by observing and building outside of it, rather than being in it. It’s a stance that has been exemplified in Chance The Rapper’s work in raising money for the Chicago Public School system without any state government help.
However, it is a dangerous stance for such an influential artist to spread widely. While simply talking about politics may not lead to a solution, being aware and ultimately involved can change policies. If not federally, for sure locally.
As for Nas, his “work” includes donating a portion of the proceeds from his HSTRY clothing line to the National Black Child Development Institute. He is also a partner in P’Tones Records, a non-profit after school music program that doubles as a record label where urban youth can record and release music. He’s also the owner of Mass Appeal Records that is currently the label home of politically-charged rap duo Run The Jewels.
“Sometimes people ask me ‘Why you didn’t say this?’ or ‘Why you didn’t talk about that?'” says Nas about the idea that rap artists should have a record for every news item. “You got a million people out here with a million different views and I heard it all. I talked about it all. I thought about most of the shit somebody could think of. I move through action. My music is action. What I’m giving you through my music is my actions.”
What do you think of Nas’ perspective? Read the full essay at Mass Appeal.