Throughout his career, Nas has made a name for himself by making conceptual songs: his albums have had verses where he rhymes from the perspective of a gun, and from the P.O.V. of a prison cell.

But with his upcoming album, Nigger, the Queensbridge emcee is looking to insects for inspiration.
In a preview of the album for MTV, he played a song called “Project Roach.”

“A roach is what I am, fool/ The ghetto is my land, fool,” he rhymes on the No I.D.-produced track. In the MTV report, Nas analogized roaches—insects that are often regarded as vile and pesky—to black people as they’re perceived to the rest of the world.

“I get to thinking about how we evolved, how the human family evolved and shit,” Nas said in the report. “And I looked at ants, man. One day, I was looking at a bunch of ants. We’ve got a lot in common — just like everything that’s alive, everything that eats and breathes and builds and creates. There’s a connection to even the smallest thing. So I looked at it as the whole world, instead of looking at us as beauty. Inside poverty, inside the street, inside the ghettos and the gutters and the slums, we aren’t looked at as beauty out there. We were looked at as the worst pest, and because of that, because of that treatment, some of us started to believe we were a pest, started to believe what we were told, and started to act like it, and started to reproduce my people, bring kids in the world that were fucked up in the head.

“You’re not this,” he continued. “But if you want to act like this and you want to be this, let’s make the metaphor and let me put you right here and say, ‘Cool.’ The roach motel could be the jails or whatever. Let me just paint that picture and see how you like that. You don’t like that, do you? If you don’t like that, shake it off, get right and let’s start getting the things we supposed to have.”

The report also reviewed tracks such as “Yall My Niggers,” in which he speaks from the perspective of the N-word itself, and the title track, which calls out racists and people who perpetuate the stereotypes that stick with minorities.

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