Nas removes N-word from album title

Def Jam release due July 1

NEW YORK -- Nas' controversially named new album, "N*gger," has been changed to an untitled project and will be released July 1 via Def Jam.

"It's important to me that this album gets to the fans," the rapper said. "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. It's that important. The streets have been waiting for this for a long time. The people will always know what the real title of this album is and what to call it."

The MC recently told MTV that he was being pressured to change the title and rumors swirled online today that the album would be called "Nas." But it will not be a self-titled affair.

Last year, Nas announced the original title in response to the stir caused by former CBS radio host Don Imus' comments toward the Rutgers women's basketball team.

Nas' last album, 2006's "Hip-Hop Is Dead," has sold 757,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.