2020 has been quite a year as far as the music industry is concerned. Needless to say, 2020 has also been largely plagued by disease. Speaking of diseases, Nas dropped his new album titled King’s Disease on August 21, 2020. Quite frankly, this is the only thing connected with a disease that people had been looking out for this year –if not ever!
What is Ultra Black Meaning?
“Ultra Black,” is a celebration of black culture and all things black. Nas essentially embraces things that are associated with black culture –and is unapologetic for doing so.
Nas takes this stance and makes it known at a time when stakes and tensions are high due to electoral politics and police brutality.
Nas – “Ultra Black” Music Video
The Old is Still Gold
Though with a little twist, this Hit-Boy-produced hit starts off with a trademark scratched-out sample of Nas’ name that makes you reminisce a little about Nas’ old songs from the ’90s and early 2000s. Then from the get-go, Nas’ unapologetic demeanor is instantly expressed when he says,
My pants’ posed to sag. We going ultra.
Cats and Dojs (Pun Intended)
It is worth noting that this song created a buzz in typical hip-hop fashion because of the controversy Nas’ lyrics sparked off upon its release. A quick listen suggests Nas took a swipe at “Say So” hitmaker and pop-rapper, Doja Cat.
We must admit that she seems to be one of Nas’s most unlikely targets from the outset. No one could have ever pictured Esco going after her. However, it all makes sense when you consider the main theme of “Ultra Black” –black solidarity.
Why Would Nas Diss Doja Cat?
“Sometimes I’m over-black, even my clothes are blackNas rap lyrics in “Ultra Black”
Cash Money with the white tee and the soldier rag
We goin’ ultra black, unapologetically black
The opposite of Doja Cat, Michael Blackson black”
This is the line that sparked off all the hellfire. Through the said line, Nas seems to refer to a debacle that saw Doja Cat get heavily criticized for an old video. The video showed up online, which alleges that she engaged in racist chatrooms online. Doja was also attacked after a song she wrote titled “Dindu Nuffin” was discovered. “Dindu Nuffin” is a disparaging phrase that is used “to mock blacks that commit crimes and the excuses that are made for them.”
However, Doja Cat promptly offered an apology for both incidents. Essentially stating that it was bad judgment for her to have been on the bigoted sites when she was a kid. She also confirmed that she’s never been in any racist conversations and denied being anti-black.
It’s All Love
Luckily, everything turned out well because Nas, for his part, cleared the air and stated in an interview with Power 106 Los Angeles that he meant “no disrespect” to Doja Cat. In the same interview, he said,
I just was really saying a rhyme that rhymed with ‘Ultra Black’. I rhymed that word with ‘ultra black,’ I didn’t even think of it. It’s all love, it’s all love, you know what I’m sayin’? It was like ‘Michael Blackson black.’ Yup! So you’ve heard it from the horse’s mouth for yourselves… “IT’S ALL LOVE.” So let’s all leave it at that, okay?
Dojy (Dodgy) Humour
The best part about this dramatic episode was when Doja Cat posted a sarcastic TikTok video of herself with “Ultra Black” playing in the background –and particularly the line that makes reference to her. She immediately goes on to say,
I’m so offended and upset by this song. Have you guys heard ‘Fruit Salad’ by The Wiggles? Watch the funny clip here. We give her 10 points for the witty humor.
Tributes to Those That Came Before
Away from all the controversy, “Ultra Black” is a powerful and empowering song that emphasizes black solidarity in light of recent happenings. Nas briefly touches on the Covid-19 pandemic when he raps,
Talk with a mask on, the freshest breath. He also pays tribute to prominent historic disco singer and actress Grace Jones and the 1970s TV show Sanford and Son and blaxploitation films.
Going Ultra Black?
Nas additionally touches on the Colin Kaepernick saga when he raps,
Black like Kaep’ blackballed from the Superbowls (Colin). No doubt, he really went ‘ultra black’ here. Nas further shows off a little when he raps,
To Africa, you say, “Go back” I stay pro-black, My Amex black (ah). This line is a canny reference to his American Express Black credit card.
A Rare Inside Story
Nas additionally does something rare and unusual in the song when he touches on his family life. Name dropping his daughter and son “Destiny” and “Knight” respectively. Nas lets us have a rare glimpse into his personal life when he raps,
“Take the boat on the water, history talks with my daughter (Dest’) and
My son will be my resurrection (Knight), Constantly learning the lessons, I never die, you get the message? I hope you be better than I, life’s precious.
The Hidden Message of Unity
A common Nas theme is also expressed in the song when he raps,
This for New York and all the map, No matter your race, to me, we all are black. This is a unifying theme that Nas previously expressed in his collaborative album with Damian Marley titled Distant Relatives.
Nas used the theme to show that although various kinds and races of people are scattered in different places around the world, we are all distant relatives because we all came from one place –Africa.
The theme is most probably based on the fact that present science, history, and anthropology suggest that the first Homo Sapiens originated from Africa. An interesting and unifying fact to know.
And speaking of interesting things to know, Doja Cat said she will be releasing a song titled “NAS” after the “Ultra Black” episode. For her sake, we hope it will be a love letter. Dissing Nas is something you absolutely should not do without giving it much thought –something even Jay-Z found out the hard way. So please do be careful Doja –but we digress.
All in all, “Ultra Black” is a bright and thoughtful song by Esco that speaks to things people feel and live through. It has the right mix of inspiration, controversy, and interesting nuggets to it. It is undoubtedly a great song that is worth giving a serious listen.