Full disclosure: I’m a “Nas guy.”Â
What this basically means is that even though I recognize the fact that Jay-Z has had a (much) better career, better albums, and generally seems like he’d be a better person to be around, I’m more of a fan of what Nas represents. Now, what the hell does Nas represent? I have no f*cking clue. But, whatever it is that he represents, I’m more of a fan of that than I am of what Jay-Z “represents.”
If this makes no sense to you, good. It makes no sense to me either, but it helps explain why I still feelÂ in my heart that “Ether” was a better song than “Takeover” even though I know in my brain that “Takeover” was better.
I’m bringing this up because, “Daughters” — Nas’ recent ode to fatherhood and raising a daughter — is not a good song, and it truly pains me to admit this. It’s pandering, saccharin, cringe-worthy, awkward, and just overall freaking annoying. Yes. Annoying. This is anÂ annoyingÂ song. This song annoys me.
Thing is, although this song annoys the hell out of me, I appreciate it. I appreciate what Nas was attempting to do here. I appreciate his effort. This — the effort — is probably what it is about what Nas “represents” that connects with me in a way that doesn’t with Jay-Z. Basically, Jigga’s a chess player, a person who doesn’t seem to do or say anything without processing the dozen or so moves that will come afterwards. While this has definitely helped him craft the best career any rapper has ever had and become a true “business, man,” there’s a certain tinge of inauthenticity that permeates much of what he says and does. Jay-Z may in fact be a “realer” person than Nas, but Nas’ penchant for artistic implusivity makes him feel realer.
And, despite the fact that it’s pandering, saccharin, cringe-worthy, awkward, and f*cking annoying,Â “Daughters” is a real song. It seems to come from a manÂ genuinelyÂ concerned about the type of example he’s set for his child, andÂ genuinelyÂ concerned about his daughter’s well-being.
Now, you can make the argument that this concern may be self-serving. Perhaps he cares so much because he’s aware of how a daughter’s (mis)behavior reflects on the father, and he wishes to spare himself the embarrassment of hearing rumors that his daughter is becoming the type of woman attracted to men who treat women the way he has.Â Even if this is true, though, this feeling comes from a genuine place, a real place, and it’s understandable and laudable.
Nas’ implusivity gives him huge blind spots though, and none are bigger than the fact that “Daughters” — a song Nas made to protect his daughter and profess his love for her —Â shits on his own daughter!Â He leads both of the song’s first two verses with information putting his daughter’s business and, ultimately, her reputation on full blast.
From verse two:
This morning I got a call, nearly split my wig
This social network said “Nas go and get ya kid”
She’s on Twitter,Â I know she ain’t gon post no pic
Of herself underdressed, no inappropriate shit, right
Her mother cried when she answered
Said she don’t know what got inside this child’s mind,Â she planted
A box of condoms on her dresser then she Instagrammed it
Forget about cutting off your nose to spite your face, “Daughters” cuts off his face to spite his face. Mind you, his daughter isn’t a seven year old who won’t quite grasp what her dad is rapping about or a grown-ass 27 year old who could deal with it, but a 17 year old girl — a person at the age where something like this has the best chance of having a negative impact on her life. Oh, and how do I know she’s a 17 year old girl? He leads the video with her f*cking birthday!
I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised by the cognitive dissonance Nas’ exhibited when creating this song and the accompanying video. It’s typical Nas (shit, it’s typical “rapper”) and, with all this being said, I do definitely appreciate the idea, effort, and (presumed) intent behind “Daughters.”Â As far as “rappers rapping about their kids” goes, it’s not in the same league as “Retrospect for Life,” but I do think it has a bit of a chance to eventually become (slightly) less annoying with repeated listens.
But, while I forgave Nas for “Braveheart Party,” “Nastradamus,” and “You Owe Me,” I don’t know if I can forgive him doing the ultimate disservice — making me agree with Carmen Bryan.Â
—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)
OnÂ Saturday, June 2, 2012, weâ€™ve got another edition ofÂ REMINSCE at Liv NightclubÂ coming up! Except this time, weâ€™re gonna be celebrating Panama’s birthday! Please come out and hang the VSB team. Plus, itâ€™s free before 11pm w/RSVP (reminiscedc.eventbrite.com) and $10 after. AND thereâ€™s an open bar from 930-10:30 WITH NO DRESS CODE.Â You can come in shorts because it gets HOT in there.