Nas Explored The Complexity Of The N-Word On His Untitled 2008 Album

Certain artists aren’t afraid to push boundaries when it comes to the packaging of their albums. As recently reported, Halsey made a powerful statement about the policing of womens’ bodies by exposing her breast on her forthcoming album cover, and more than a decade, Nas attempted to do something similar with the title of his ninth studio album.

Originally titled N*gger, Nas’ 2008 album was conceptualized to be an exploration of Blackness and a rallying cry against oppression worldwide, but upon backlash, the now-Grammy-winning rapper opted to just drop it as an untitled album. Released on July 15, 2008, Nas’ Untitled celebrates its 13-year anniversary, and although it typically gets placed in the bottom of pretty much ever Nas album ranking, we revisit the album’s 13th track, “Y’all My N*ggas,” in honor of the politically charged project

Despite its loaded lyrical content, “Y’all My N*ggas” employs a funky and lively beat courtesy of J. Meyers, and rather than feeling like a full-on four minutes of preaching, the track entertains while offering varied perspectives on the n-word. Crafting an enjoyable song while exploring the politics of the racial epithet is no simple task, but of course, God’s Son did it with ease

Revisit Untitled by listening to “Y’all My N*ggas” below. Thirteen years later, where does Nas’ ninth studio album rank in his discography for you?

Quotable Lyrics

My father was not a banker, neither was my neighbor
When it came to getting paper, who the hell was gon’ train us?
Oppression couldn’t escape us through the ages
We changed the basis of derogatory phrases
And I say it’s quite amazing
The use of ghetto terms developed our own language
No matter where it came from
It’s celebrated, now people are mad if they ain’t one