Talk Like Sex
After the release of Nas' Street's Disciple, in the spirit of The Source meets Penthouse Forum, loosie.com posted an entertaining write-up entitled "Kings of Crude: Tom Wolfe vs. Nasty Nas." Responding to the rapper's career long reputation for Flyntesque streaks, Loosie argued that while the Literary Review of London had just dubiously honored author Tom Wolfe for outstanding achievements in the field of "Bad Sex in Fiction", Nas was as worthy a candidate as any.
The Literary Review of London recently awarded the '2004 Bad Sex in Fiction' distinction to Tom Wolfe for his novel I Am Charlotte Simmons, the tale of an innocent young lady who goes away to college only to discover her (surprise) inner-freak. That said, we believe the esteemed Literary Review of London has overlooked a very worthy candidate: the ever-classy rapper known as Nas.
Although Nasir Jones dropped the Nasty from his moniker back in the glorious era when Wu Gambinos snatched cream Canadian with Scandinavians, words like "Grotesque", "Gruesome" and "As Wretch-Inducing as Lancing Infected Boils" still apply to his musings on sexuality. Even if his once-formidable lyricism and rhyme schemes have been slowly but steadily deteriorating since his first two albums, the Queensbridge golden child has never lost his uncanny gift for vivid description. This is a valuable trait when it comes to stark 'hood narratives. But in terms of talking like sex, it renders him repugnant.
First and foremost, there's nothing tongue-in-cheek about the thug poet's deep love of analingus. If he kept it relatively understated - "bitches sticking they tongues where the sun don't shine" (I Really Want To Show You) - we would consider him merely raunchy (and things he says would never haunt us). But Escobar gets wild for the night. On Millennium Thug, he took mouth-to-ass chatter to the next plateau. "Your girl wanna lick honey out my crack", he raps, "I fart in your bitch mouth -- she called me psychic 'cause I knew she would like it." Bravo, Nasir! But his rhapsodizing on passing wind-as-sex play was just a gentle prelude to his 2004 pillow talk: "Chelsea used to tell me choke her while I stroke her / stuck a Heineken bottle up in the ass, a real joker/ used to run my bubble bath, tons of laughs, sexy chick / nasty though, she used to try to eat my excrement" (Remember the Times). Without getting into the pause-worthy strangeness of a line spider webbing things stuck up backsides, German porn staples and the NYC neighborhood where men shave each other’s pubic hair over eggs Benedict at brunch, let's linger for a moment on the female prankster he fondly reminisces over. Quite a sense of humor, that young woman had - almost Steve-Oish. Why the God Rakim himself should climb down from his Hennessey billboard and give Nas a dap (if gingerly and rubber-gloved). "I had bad chicks that blow cum bubbles like bubblegum, plus they lick ass", he emphasizes on Nazareth Savage. We get it, homes.
Aside from a couple cheap shots, the overall idea of the article is on point: Nas descriptions of the sexual often hearken back to the pre-Giuliani days of Times Square New York, and not in a good way. Millennium Thug, while it's little more than a freestyle on a Funk Flex mixtape, is inexcusable, though not because it's perverted, but because that verse is real bad. I Really Want To Show You is another verse that shouldn't have been, on a song that wouldn't have been, if it weren't for an album that definitely didn't need to be. However, as it's more than merely melding the lewd and ludicrous, Remember The Times is itself defendable. For starters, the descriptions go further than the occasionally-shallow stereotyped scenes of a Girls, Girls, Girls. Also, whatever "ewww" factor is present seems to be in the spirit of something self-effacing and intentionally over the top, a bit of gross out humor. Nas is going for funny by going for the guts, quite literally. Likewise, what compelled Devin to describe his "thick white snot" or Pharcyde to invite us on a Bizarre Ride II the STD Clinic ("If Magic can admit he got AIDS, fuck it, I got herpes")? Hip-Hop doesn't always have to deal with the straight laced and no nonsense. If a dude has a penchant for rhyming about his anal fetish, well, then let him, so long as it flows well--the song that is. Ewww . . .
Nas: Remember the Times
Nas, Nashawn: Millenium Thug
The Notorious B.I.G. f/ Nas: I Really Want To Show You