Nas urges action in the age of Trump: 'We all know a racist is in office'

Donald Trump in hip-hop, before and after (2016)
Donald Trump in hip-hop, before and after (2016)

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Donald Trump in hip-hop, before and after (2016) 01:38

Story highlights

  • Nas urges activists to take action, rather than just speak
  • The rapper refers to Trump as "a racist"

Washington (CNN)Nas, considered one of the most politically conscious rappers in the game, penned an open letter to his fans urging action to combat what he said was institutionalized racism and the policies of President Donald Trump.

"We all know a racist is in office. People can talk their s---," Nas writes in a letter published to Mass Appeal Magazine Tuesday. "Comedians can sound racist. People can go through their moments of that s---, but when you have the responsibility of being President and you carry on like that, you send a strong message to people outside of your group that they ain't worth s---."
    A request to the White House for comment was not returned.
    Nas, whose full name is Nasir Jones, rose to fame in the early 90s and his 1994 album "Illmatic" was ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the best debut albums of all time.
    He is one of the most politically outspoken artists and represents the anti-establishment wing of hip-hop -- less commercialized and more focused on the grassroots -- which includes rappers like Killer Mike and Talib Kweli.
    In the past, Nas has openly spoken out about not voting or participating in the political process, but emphasized -- and reiterated in his letter -- that not voting doesn't mean you're not proactive.
    "My way of addressing these issues is through my work. Whatever president may be in office doesn't affect my work directly. The way he affects people is what affects me ... The person himself, I'm not caught up with. I don't even have time for Trump or (Vice President Mike) Pence. I don't give a f---," Nas adds.
    Nas reflects a sentiment that was expressed by many in the hip-hop community (and chronicled in this CNN Politics Obama lyrics analysis) during and following Barack Obama's presidency that even a black president was unable to change what they see as a racist system.
    Nas was a vocal supporter of Obama, but he also lamented racism that he said Obama experienced and expressed disillusionment with the system as a whole.