Untitled: The Album Formerly Known As

Nas ditched the N-word. But does he even need it anymore?

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The NAACP's ceremonial burial of the N-word will not be heard by the hip-hop generation and Jabari Asim's treatise on the N-word, brilliant as it is, will likely not be heard by the hip-hop generation. Nasir Jones will be heard, and I suspect that if his name was an acronym (say, Nigger Against Society) he might have fared better in this free-speech battle by positioning himself as the typical Bad Nigger instead of a thoughtful one.

James Braxton Peterson is an assistant professor of English and Africana studies at Bucknell University and the founder of Hip Hop Scholars, Inc.