Ras Kass Explains "Nature of the Threat" 15 Years Later

Fifteen years since its release, Razzy Kazzy speaks on his politically charged song "Nature of the Threat."

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.

RELATED: Ras Kass Plans "N.I.K.E." & "F.I.L.A.", Speaks On HRSMN Reaction To Canibus Vs. Royce Da 5'9

51 Comments

  • Jamal

    Great song, but the first few lines make me think... Albinos were a sin to the African man, this seems like the place where racism started and sorry my black brothers it looks like we started it. That's if the lyrics in this song are facts that is. Its odd he missed that point. Its much like how we were pushed away to slavery, we did the same thing to the whites because they were "albino". Many miss this point. We should all just get along.

  • NY

    "When it's all said and done I'ma retire to an island in the Caymans, Enslavin' caucasians livin' off your mama's life savings" Not the same song but "The End" is a great song. It's more of a point @Anonymous, He talks about white people hating on songs like that for lyrics that detail about rich white men exploiting people or in this case enslaving white people of course a play on history. I'm white myself and I don't care their is lyrics like that it's still good hip hop.

  • Anonymous

    Top 10 rap songs of all time, all u crackas hating on this song suck a dick. This song could spark a race war and there are rich white men in this country that exploit people of color to the extreme to get rich til this day. STOP LEAVING NEGATIVE TO DISCORAGE PEOPLE FROM LISTENING TO THIS MASTERPIECE!

    • EddieMurrrphy

      i'm a white irish-american. never had much money on either side of my family and its been like that for years. my family never owned slaves cause they lived in vermont. so suck on that bitch. oh and i love Razzy.

    • Jihod

      Business Skills aka Savagingly killing people for oil, land & loads of other natural resources, f*cking savages. When the race war starts you'll be vastly outnumbered, can't wait to getmy hands around your neck for consistantly opressing people of color in the country.

    • Justin Ballou

      I'm white and thouroughly enjoy the song. White Power! haha

    • Anonymous

      Shut the fuck up. White people will always reign supreme. Hating on them because they got business skills. Get the fuck out of here and learn to blame yourself for your low life standard.

  • slumpalot

    I was a 20 year kid when this album was just about finished. I have a relative that produced a track or two from that album and I was fortunate to see Rass in the studio. That fool is a beast! I read some of these comments and see how people are passing judgements. I would say that 90% of you probably think you are emcees but your not or had pipe dreams of rockin shows but you can't even get YOUTUBE views. He will make you look into alternative options as far as careers are concerned if you haven't already. Half of you can't even put together complete sentences. Dude is the real deal, don't get it tangled or twisted. Dead that riff raff your talking unless you have the skills to step into a cipher with him and spit something that won't get you laughed at.

    • Anonymous

      An alternative career should be an option for Ras Kass, his sales ain't doing it.

    • NY

      Damn you're lucky to see the process of making the album, Ras Kass is the most lyrical one of out of the west, I think. One of the best period in terms of subject matter and probably one of the most political rappers along with Chuck D of Public Enemy, Brother J of X-Clan, Wise Intelligent of Poor Righteous Teachers & KRS-One.

  • YeahUKnow!

    This was a very insightful story. HHDX please keep us posted when you run the story where Ras explains why he is such a bitch, constantly gets whopped on, and would rather act like Eminem and Slaughterhouse are going to do something for him instead of stand at arms with his fellow HRSMN. Can't wait to read that.

  • G MON

    i still like the song despite accuracy on facts. Its a one of a kind track, nobody had made a track like that prior. Soul on Ice is still a sick album, favorite track is Sonset.

  • UG

    I also disagree with the "facts" in the nature of the threat...Not all songs were made with somebody or any particular audience in mind- I think Ras' idea was just to capture people's attention and spark debate...And he did that amazingly. Look,we're still talking about it now- so I guess it worked. Nature of The Threat didnt kill Ras' career.Priority records and a stint in jail helped that little cause.Think I'm lyin'? how could you be one of the top 5 dead or alive and not be Filthy rich? IDK. Ask Ras.

  • UG

    The version that made the retail Soul on Ice album was only about six minutes and some odd seconds...IDK maybe the demo version was fifteen??

  • e.

    It's a racist diatribe sourced entirely by Afrocentrist "historians" with an ideological axe to grind. Ras Kass is a stupid fuck who can only blame "DA MAN" for his retardation and poor life decisions. But it's all good. At this stage he's fucked himself over to the point where he's now totally irrelevant. Thumbs up Ras!

    • Jihod

      hard work & effort aka savagely killing for natural resources(such as oil), currpting inner city school systems across the U.S., and cheating workers out of jobs & retirement benefits because some cracka allows business to outsource w/o penalty. smdh Yall bend rules to your advantage everytime out and who gets screwed BUT 80% OF THE PEOPLE OF COLOR IN THIS COUNTRY. sad thing is you obtain more money than you can spend in a lifetime and for what? You're ruing lives and corupting families who for the most part just want to get by, don't worry though Lucifer will get you, how you sleep with that on your concious is just awful

    • SUNEZ

      What is afrocentrist? The scholars he mentioned and using range from Cheik Anta Diop to Ivan Van Sertima. These are great scholars with excellent methodology and truth. This is an 8 minute classic that builds on everything destructive that has been done to our people. His facts are right or are we to go with old European scholars that say that Greece made up the pyramids and triangles (i.e. Pythagorean theorem) when ancient Kemit (Egypt) through Nubia, already had pyramids up, sharing it to the rest of the world for centuries prior. If you are a sincere white man then you must know that your history is predominately based on horrendously wicked actions as a society and the righteousness that has come from your people has been instilled by us and the performance of righteousness has been the exception, the rare exception. Peace, Sunez

    • e.

      And you must be a descendent of someone who just stumbled into the 21st century and hates to hear that success is predicated on hard work and effort, and not blaming everyone but yourself for your shitty failure of existence.

    • Anonymous

      LOL, you must be a descendant of one of the good ole boys who just happened to stumble into hip hop and hate to hear some shit that reflects your barbaric heritage. But if you look at it from a glass half full way, at least your kind is white and everyone knows white is right through might so you should cheer for yourself.

  • Anonymous

    Ras Kass is a self-hating, insecure and racist fuck who happens to be the favorite of some people who can relate to his issues. Take some unproven theories, mix 'em up with some government conspiracies, talk about racism and you unfair your race is treated, lay it down on beat that sounds like it was produced for 10$, flow off beat as fuck and become the new underground favorite, living off your most known songs and sell 200 CD's of your shitty album.

    • Anonymous

      LOL, you must be a descendant of one of the good ole boys who just happened to stumble into hip hop and hate to hear some shit that reflects your barbaric heritage. But if you look at it from a glass half full way, at least your kind is white and everyone knows white is right through might so you should cheer for yourself..

  • Anonymous

    I always love how people wil say that history books are full of lies and they dont teach the real history of the world in American schools You could be right, but am I really suppose to believe that some rapper is the enlightened one and everybody else is full of shit?? There's alot of facts in that song that can be argued, and after weighing out all the information most intelligent people will come to the conclusion the song is a work of fiction Entertaining fiction tho, I like the song for the same reasons I liked "The Davinci Code".....Its 90% bullshit, but it entertained me

    • Nat Burna

      "truth is considered hate to those who hate the truth." I love it when them "folks" call black men racist. The hate that hate made. The paleman walks in the threshold of darkness.

  • Alabaster Jones

    "Albinism apparently was a sin to the original man, Africans So the mutants traveled North of the equator Called Europeans later, the first race haters" That's the first major contradiction in the song and it doesn't get any better from there. If I was a black man in America I probably wouldn't like white people very much either, but it doesn't mean you should make up a load of bullshit using big words and pretend it's factual. He's pulled his ideas from conspiracy theories, NOI ideology etc, not facts. I can still listen to Rass Kass but I'd have to really hate myself to listen to that song.

    • Jihod

      it was part of their religous beliefs to cast albinos as they believed they were cursed, no harm was cast upon them they were just left to fend on there own. Which is way diffent than killing people for land & other natural resources (which still goes on today btw. people kill me finding anyway to justify bullshyt.

  • Alabaster Jones

    Imagine if Garth Brooks wrote the same song about, oh I don't know.. black people..

    • Anonymous

      White people always want everyone to forget how savage they've been because of how sophisticated they think they are now.

  • indeeder

    only light skinned people don't like this song (along with some middle easterners)... think i'm lyin? this is 1 of the greatest SONGS ever created and i'm sorry if u don't get it but it iz and so be it if u (the light skinned) don't feel that way. truth of tha matter is is that Ras Kass killed his career with this song and he did it out of love for black people and not only black people but THE TRUTH (i'm typing this as I listen to Lil' Wayne's "Gucci Gucci"). so all of u little kids aside (becuz it's more and more obvious to separate tha kids from the grown folks everyday) this song is 1 of the greatest songs ever. Props and thanks to Ras. if you don't like it then you aren't real.

  • Little Bit

    I just paid $22.87 for an iPad2-64GB and my girlfriend loves her Panas0nic Lumix GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $675 which only cost me $62.81 to buy. Here is the website we use to get it all from, BidNew.com

  • the man

    that record is more powerful then even you can comprehend.. razzy your fucking dope!

  • Timeless track

    I love that track, even 15 years later, I still bump that. I bump Soul on Ice in all as well. Truth, he didn't make the song for anybody but himself, so get off his dick already.

  • insanemacbeth

    the track's classic. and RAKIM is THE GOD EMCEE, but for me...RAS KASS is the best writer of lyrics, in hip-hop history. phenomenal pengame.

  • Anonymous

    Incrdeible song, Truth...eat a dick

  • emobx

    nature of the threat is one of the greatest musical recordings of all time. Ive gone to college and shit and I could see how we arent being told exactly wat was poppin, same way they aint tellin us everything going on today. that track out does some of the best of the best in the game including canibus, and puts em in that echelon of mcs. if raps was pyramid, hes a member of dat apex club nigga, off of one song too, all of yall know that, in my opinion, he aint fuckin wit canibus tho, hes the true goat

  • Truth

    It's a terrible song. Off-beat, forced rapping to a crappy beat. And lyrically, it's not even all that. "Lesbians came from Lesbos" - gosh, thanks for enlightening us, Rass Kass. But if you've never went to college are not that bright in general, I can see how this song would totally blow your mind, bro. (hits bong) So long as you don't look into all the stuff Rass Kass got wrong, of course. C+ essay, John Austin.

    • icnfde

      ""Lesbians came from Lesbos" - gosh, thanks for enlightening us, Rass Kass." For someone named 'Truth' you sure do a good job of twisting it considering that's not even the correct lyric, at all. No wonder most of you hate this song if you all have the literacy and listening skills of this genius here...

    • Anonymous

      Correctly. One of the whackest and most overrated songs of all time. Not only from a writing standpoit, the rapping itself is worse than some shit I've heard on soundcloud. That shows you what the term ''underground'' will do to the perspective people have of you. That's the music for people who never made it, telling themselves they're warriors, fighting against the system. Blaming everything else instead of themselves.

    • you do it

      and history books are right, along with professors and schools of all nature... fuck off.. history has been a lie since man's 2 cents.

    • Truth

      @darkmanx Rass Kass made a song I don't like, so I said I don't like it. But clearly, all the cool kids are quoting Bambi. @Anonymous Taking a break from finishing your Masters?

    • Anonymous

      I bet when this song came out, your mom was sucking your fathers shaft and somehow his cream swiveled inbetween your stank mom's snatch. Then, you were born 9 later. Now, the world has to get dumber from your "truth".

    • dark man x

      Damn TRUTH all you going to do is rant negative shit about a song. What did Ras Kass do to you? If you dont have anything nice to say shut the fuck up.

  • indeed

    legendary record. hip hop hall of fame record for sure

    • John Schepens

      I concur: the content may or may not be factual, it doesn't take away the fact that I enjoy it now as I did back in '96.

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