Rev. Al Sharpton applauded Nas’ decision to change the title of his forthcoming album from Nigger to Nas this week.
The long time civil rights advocate believes the title change is a victory in the fight against record label indecency.
“This proves that record companies and distributors realize that the community will not allow companies to profit from denigrating us and polluting the minds of our youth,” Sharpton said via press statement.
While Sharpton and a number of emcees are often at odds about the often graphic and profane language contained on many Hip Hop albums, Nas and the Reverend have a common agreement about one hot topic of the day: Sean Bell.
“I have a lot of respect for Nas,” Sharpton told the New York Daily News. “I liked what he said about Sean Bell.” Nas said he was “touched” by the tragedy because of a number of similarities between himself and Bell and made a contribution to the funeral expenses.
Nas also acknowledged Sharpton’s work with the Bell case on BET’s “106 & Park.”
Regardless of the pair’s mutual respect and understanding on various social issues, it seems that Sharpton and Nas can agree to disagree on issues of language and album titles and still remain cordial.
“We have a fundamental disagreement on [Hip Hop],” Sharpton said. “He can rap against me. I’ll preach against them. We’re still friends.”
Against a backdrop of controversy, Nas was forced to change the controversial album title. When the name of the album was announced, it drew a mixed bag of reactions from the Hip Hop and activist communities. To avoid further delays of the project—which saw its release date pushed back several times—Nas agreed to change the title, saying it was important get heard by the public.
“It’s important to me that this album gets to the fans. It’s been a long time coming. I want my fans to know that creatively and lyrically, they can expect the same content and the same messages. The people will always know what the real title of this album is and what to call it,” said Nas.
Everybody is trying to stop the title. It’s just people being scared of what’s real. Somebody is trying to open up dialogue for people to talk. People that’s high up [who aren’t] really understanding what I’m doing, are scared.”
He also alluded to the one old cliché: “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”
“The fans gotta know either way: this is the same album. The content is the same, the direction is the same, the message is gonna be everything I intended it to be musically.”