When news came that Nas would title his next album Nigger, writers, music critics, and just about everyone else dropped their 2 cents on why it was nothing short of a bad idea. After “CEO of hip-hop” Russell Simmons and the NAACP addressed the proposed title (and the “N-word” as a whole) the idea was scrapped. The album hit shelves July 1 with no title, the cover donning a picture of Nas’ back tattered with scars in the shape of the letter “N” that resemble those that covered the backs of beaten slaves. Even without a title, there is little question as to Nas’ concern over the social and political state of the black community. “N.I.*.*.E.R.,” follows the first-hand perspective found in many of Nas’ previous songs, addressing the black community’s overall disenfranchisement with government, police and the institutions that this country is built around. On “Breathe,” he relives the everyday stresses faced by slum-dwellers. A bitter, disgusted Nas goes for the throat of Fox News and Bill O’Reilly on “Sly Fox.” The album is deserving of the hype and controversy, and it functions well without a title—its underlying messages could never be defined by one word anyway.