Whatever provocative plans Nas had for the title of his latest album, he ultimately chose the route of least chain-store resistance and left it untitled. However, there’s no shortage of potentially controversial material here, above and beyond frequent use of the n-word.
Throughout, Nas seems determined to stir up controversy. He’s quick to call out Bill O’Reilly and Fox News, Marilyn Monroe and Fidel Castro, Vice-President Dick Cheney and Halliburton in ways that will turn heads, but he consistently falls short on the follow-through. He plays it safe by posing questions rather than explaining connections, drawing conclusions or offering solutions. Taking a tip from William Cooper’s conspiracy theory tracts, Nas deftly delivers attention-grabbing rhymes with a sickly slick flow yet offers little backup for his inflammatory insinuations in the way of persuasive substance.
Nas drops by Circa after his Rock The Bells performance at Arrow Hall Sunday (July 20).