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Nas is clearly not a fan.
In an open letter posted on Mass Appeal on Tuesday entitled “Action Speaks Louder Than Words,” the MC warned that there is “no time for lippin‘ in the so-called Trump Era.”
The 1,000-word essay about what Nas sees as the peril of the presidency opens with a stark scene: “The only way the black man gets a little piece in America is if he takes the O.J. stance: ‘I’m not black, I’m O.J,'” he writes. “When you ignore the shit that’s happening to people you can live in this fantasy, this American fantasy that you belong to…who? You ignore what’s happening, and that gives you peace. Because what’s going on is enough to make people insane.”
Nas knows he was put here to do his thing, which typically doesn’t involve politics, something he says he doesn’t pay any attention to anyway. “For what? There’s no reason. For me, it doesn’t make any sense,” he says. “We all know a racist is in office. 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.”
So why focus on politics if he’s not running for office? When he votes again, if he votes again, the Queens rapper knows who he will vote against. And he knows how his voice will be heard. “My way of addressing these issues is through my work. Whatever president may be in office doesn’t affect my work directly,” he says. “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. I don’t give a f—.
“My focus is on what’s happening with real people in their everyday lives,” he continues. “How they behave, the decisions they make, and how that affects families. I grew up in a single-parent household, so I was affected by that life. But it didn’t stop me. So I speak to the everyday people. I speak to everybody. If the people are bothered by it, I speak on it. If the people are bothered and want change, I speak on that.”
As far as Nas is concerned, art will thrive no matter who inhabits the White House. “I live in that — I live in those walls, I live in those wires, I live in those pencils and papers, and that sound,” he says. “I’m not caught up in politics…. I move through action. My music is action. What I’m giving you through my music is my actions.”
Though he protests about not caring who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Nas did take some time to take a swing at Trump last year on Robin Thicke’s song “Deep,” rapping “You don’t think it’s an emergency?/ A toupee wearin‘ liar’s tryna run the U.S.A.”
Bottom line for Nas? “Anytime I’m speaking it’s action.”
Nas, whose new album is almost done, will hit the road with Lauryn Hill, comedian Hannibal Buress and reggae star Chronixx for a North American tour that kicks off Sept. 7 in Chicago.
This article originally appeared on Billboard.com.
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