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Don't You Wanna' Be A Nigger Too?

What I’m about to bring to your attention, if you already haven’t seen or heard it, is probably one of the best rap/hip-hop songs that’s come out in awhile, from one of the best rappers, in my opinion. The below video is of Nas’ “Be A Nigger Too”, from his still untitled album that drops next month.

When I first saw the video I was speechless. It was a shock to my system- all I’ve heard the last several weeks was the ignorant stuff, most notably Lil’ Wayne. But this “Be A Nigger Too”- it took one of the most offensive words in our society and laced with one of the most important messages in rap music that I’ve seen in awhile. He essentially made the ‘n’ word positive. It’s almost like he made it a learning tool.


The Black Salvage caught up with Prince George’s County, Maryland area rapper Jay Luminarty for his thoughts on the video. Luminarty, who attested that he has to deal with the words nigger and nigga on a daily basis said that calling the video controversial was an understatement. “I feel Nas is trying to portray to the world that we are the ‘slave and the master’ of the word ‘nigger/nigga’. We give it its power. We have the option to use it or allow it to be used; but we also have the option to do otherwise. In our community today, if you ask an African American that uses the word “nigger/nigga” why he or she does so, the response will most likely be an ignorant one.”

The ‘slave and master’ allusions are riddled throughout the song and my interpretation of them similar to Luminarty’s. What I enjoyed even more about the song is that Nas’ didn’t do the whole “white man is holding us back” number that a lot rapper do. He effectively put blame on our society’s problems on all of us. One line toward the end proclaims, “we are much more, but we choose to ignore the obvious. You are the slave and the master, what you looking for? You the question and the answer”.

“Some African Americans may even go as far into detail as to explain to you that the word has changed over the years and it doesn’t mean the same thing that it used to,” Luminarty told The Black Salvage. “[And] although that is a valid point, it’s still a little ignorant because the world is still the same. Although it’s slightly changed for the better, using that word sets the African American community back several years of achievements.”

“The more we use it, the more others use it; the more they use it, the less respect they have for African Americans. Although most people, including myself, use the word nigger/nigga, videos like “Be A Nigger Too” reminds people of what the word really is, where it really originated from, and why it needs to stop.”

If your like me, you seldom catch everything the first go-around in a rap or hip-hop song. I encourage everyone who didn’t to go ahead and Google the lyrics- I think you’ll discover even more about Nas’ message.

If you'd like to chat some more with Luminarty on this topic, you can check out his MySpace page at www.myspace.com/jluminarty or email him at Luminarty@hotmail.com

-Prodigy Maestro

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