Nas visited Georgetown University to depart some his impressions of Hip-Hop and culture and alerts us of his dissatisfaction with modern rappers.
As a rapper of legendary proportions, Nas was invited to the prestigious Georgetown University, along with Georgetown's own sociology professor, Michael Eric Dyson, to discuss at length with the director of Africana studies at Lehigh University, James Peterson, about the current state of Hip-Hop and the recent rise of higher learning pursuit within the culture.
If that sounds like the epitome of a dull way to spend an hour, know that the rapper touched on some important issues for the community, as Nas parts with his thoughts on the issues before a live audience preceding his live performance of Illmatic at the Kennedy Center.
He showed particular pride regarding the fact that 9th Wonder is currently attending the end-all, be-all of the ivy league, Harvard University. Nas went on the record, saying, "It’s so many layers to that question, where is Hip Hop? You talk about 9th Wonder at Harvard, I recently been over there and met with Skip Gates and Dr. Morgan and just watching where Hip Hop is today. Myself, re-releasing an album from 20 years ago is like, '20 years? That’s crazy.'”
Of course, when you don't have ignant rap, you have yourself conscious rap, which has a penchant for sounding both pretentious and corny bundled into some, oft times, righteous package of broad statements and condescending tones. Of this phenomenon, Nas said:
“I don’t see enough emcees who are brave enough to be honest. I would like to see more of that. There’s a lot of good stuff. There’s a lot of bad in Rap. The socially conscious stuff can come off sometime as preachy, so a lot of people tend to stay away from it. That ain’t their bag. That’s not what they do. But still, they kind of have some artistic responsibility to do more than what’s the latest trend...I would like to see people remember it’s an artform because the better we all become we push each other to make the whole artform better. Then we won’t have to worry about who won the Grammy.”
This isn't the first time Nas went critical on the recent crop of Hip-Hop artists. That's nothing new, but Nas also went on to explain how he wanted to bring his music to higher education.
“When I first started I said, ‘You know, it would be cool to talk at colleges...but that would never happen,’” he says. “That’s really what I thought. I didn’t know. It’s kind of like surreal but then at the same time, it’s what it’s supposed to be. Especially for me, at a place like the John F. Kennedy Center, I had like dreams of that kind of stuff early. I didn't think it was really possible. I kind of gave away those dreams. I let those dreams go. Now that it’s here, that it’s come around to this, it feels like this is where it’s supposed to be.”
Thoughts? Opinions? Let us know. Or, you know, if you have an hour and a half to kill listening to some serious academic discussion on Hip Hop, check out the interview in full below.