Nas Just Called Out Trump, Says Americans Should Take Action

June 1st 2017

Mike Rothschild

Long known for being one of the most socially conscious and politically aware rappers, Nas has made his feelings about President Donald Trump clear in an open letter that doubles as a call to action.

“We all know a racist is in office,” Nas wrote on Mass Appeal.

“People can talk their shit. Comedians can sound racist. People can go through their moments of that shit, but when you have the responsibility of being president and you carry on like that, you send a strong message to people outside of your group that they ain’t worth shit,” he went on to write.

The Queens, New York, rapper's letter hits Trump for his racially divisive rhetoric and how the Trump administration seems to be distancing itself more and more from the issues faced by many families and low-income Americans.

"My way of addressing these issues is through my work. Whatever president may be in office doesn’t affect my work directly," he wrote. "The way he affects people is what affects me. I observe what’s going on and that goes into my creative process. The person himself, I’m not caught up with. I don’t even have time for Trump or Pence."

So how can Americans survive the Trump years?

"It’s the same way I felt as a youngster when Ronald Reagan was in office. My voice at that point didn’t fuckin’ matter to anybody. I didn’t care," he wrote. "You know what’s different today? I’m older, that means I’m more responsible. That means paying attention to what’s happening to my country. But in reality, art is gonna thrive regardless. Whether it’s affected by who’s in office or not, art thrives."

He went on to add that Americans should remain persistent despite the current political climate:

"That position, the presidency, seems so far away. But Barack Obama changed the game so that now, whether you’re a woman or Latino or whoever, you can feel that running for office can be a real goal. Winning the election could be real for someone in this country, if that’s what you want."

Since breaking into the mainstream in the early 1990s, Nas has been using both his music and public profile to fight institutionalized racism and media portrayals of black men.

As the Guardian writes, "Late last year, he raised money for criminal justice reform by selling “ugly” Christmas sweaters with a kneeling Santa, an allusion to Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest. And in a verse on Robin Thicke’s 2016 single Deep, he wrote: “A toupee-wearin’ liar’s tryna run the USA.”

He's also been embroiled in high profile feuds with a number of conservative media personalities, including the notoriously anti-rap Bill O'Reilly, who went after Nas for violent lyrics and a gun charge. Nas responded by calling O'Reilly uncivilized and protesting outside the Fox News Studio in New York.

He concludes his open letter by urging people to remember that despite Trump being in office, little has changed, and that those angry over the election need to take action, not just speak.

"From when I was born, people have enforced laws targeting so-called minorities to keep us enslaved, in a way. I survived that," he writes. "Especially in this day and age with all the resources we have, all the information of the Information Age, and that’s whether Trump’s in office or not. So, I don’t got time for lippin’. I got time for actions."