In 1996, Ras Kass made Hip Hop history with his politically charged epic “Nature of the Threat,” off his slept-on debut Soul On Ice. The blistering 15-minute long song found Razzy hacking away at the foundations of number of social institutions, including religion, race relations and historicity. Now, 15 years since the song debuted, the veteran emcee speaks on his song’s impact.
In a recent interview with TheBeeShine.com, Ras Kass explains how he approached writing the song’s lyrics and researching the topics he discussed. He says that he attacked the various subjects he touches upon in the song as more of a historian than an emcee hell-bent of lyrics of fury.
“There [are] pros and cons to everything, in the nature of Islam or from a lot of different standpoints that are still accurate,” he notes. “[Writing the song] was a task that I took that I really did for myself, so yeah it solidifies me as somebody that’s a thinker and a rapper, because it’s not a…storytelling song and it’s not the most lyrical song; it’s a factual song. The time it took me to get that done was more [of that of a] historian or philosopher than a rapper.”
Razzy also spoke on the song’s impact on his career. He says that many of fans are divided about cut, with some hating its content and others deeming it his crowing achievement as an emcee. Regardless of the critical response, he says he’s proud of the work and happy that he was able to relate such heavy content at that time in his career.
“As far as how it’s affected my career, for some people, it is my opus. For other people, it may have been a song that made them [think] like, ‘Oh, he hates these particular people,’ which, really, it’s not,” he said. “It may have affected my career [in a way] that [made people respond like], ‘Oh, well we don’t want him talking about that.’ Some people have speculated – [and] I could see where some of their points are valid – that maybe it affected my career in a negative way. It is what it is. I made it for myself. I think it’s a part of me that I’m glad I got out at that time. I probably couldn’t make the same song today…[or] five years ago, just because that’s where I was [when I made it]. Like I said, everything I make is a time capsule. There may be fundamental facts [in the song] that I [still] agree with, but I may have a different interpretation of those facts [now].”
The full interview can be heard below.