Nas recently did an with interview GQ magazine, and the Queens emcee was asked about various topics – Hip Hop, his career, and race relations. When writer Zach Baron asked the 41-year-old rap icon if activists have contacted him after he participated in the Eric Garner protests in New York, the creator of the classic album Illmatic replied by stating he is an activist.
“We’re already activists. I’m looking at what’s happening to the world, and I’m waiting for people to stop being scared. Mainly whites in power and in government, to not be scared of the race issue. Not be scared to say, “This is wrong, and this has to change.” Not be scared to do what’s right.”
He continued explaining what he feels people are afraid of:
“Votes. Their career. Backlash. They’re confused; they don’t really know much about it. We’re all human beings. So I understand being scared. But at some point, you got to come out and do the right thing. No matter who you are, you got to put the people first. Compassion, and your love for people, has to exist. And your love to humanity has to exist. It can’t just always be about your career, your money, your stature, where you think you belong in this government. You’ve got to be about reality and love.”
Those fears Nas spoke on were echoed in a statement made by another Queens, New York rap representative. Young Money’s Nicki Minaj was featured in a 2014 issue of Rolling Stone. The “Feeling Myself” performer told the publication:
“I feel like when Public Enemy were doing ‘Fight the Power,’ we as a culture had more power — now it feels hopeless. People say, “Why aren’t black celebrities speaking out more?” But look what happened to Kanye when he spoke out. People told him to apologize to Bush… He was the unofficial spokesman for hip-hop, and he got torn apart. And now you haven’t heard him speaking about these last couple things, and it’s sad.”