A tribute to the artist’s departed mom, “Dance” esteems the Lord while slamming evolution. “I Can” affirms kids, telling them to “read more, learn more,” avoid drugs and choose friends carefully. Elsewhere, isolated lines decry a loss of values and responsibility, both on an individual and a cultural level.
Sadly, any pro-social preaching is crippled by the rapper’s amazing moral confusion. He boasts about having a constant flow of sexual partners (“The Cross,” “P-ssy Killz”) and a marathon session of oral sex (“Hey Nas”). Illegal drugs are considered good for the community on “Get Down”(“The drugs kept the ’hood from starving”). At least five tracks take an enchanted view of alcohol and marijuana. Seven feature violent threats or descriptions of gang warfare (including the murder of a doctor and a policeman), at times with the rapper admitting to being jacked up on pot or booze. As might be inferred from the disc’s title, Nas has a messiah complex—a seed planted by his mother (“Revolutionary Warfare”). He views Jesus as “just nice” and hardly necessary. “Heaven” states, “I bet you there’s a heaven for an atheist.”
It’s swell of Nas to warn young fans about the unpleasant consequences of street life on “I Can.” But if he knows kids are listening, why fill most of this stickered disc with glamorizations of drugs and alcohol, criminal violence, obscenities and casual sex? Reprehensibly inconsistent and sure to grieve the heart of God’s true Son.