(Released January 13th, 2020)
I’m sure this may come across as odd and random because it is. During a youtube binge, spearheaded solely by procrastination, I stumbled upon Nick Cannon’s candid interviews with VladTV. Now, Vlad has a certain reputation in terms of what entertainers end up revealing on his platform; which should be seriously dissected one day. But, throughout these series of videos Nick Cannon offered some really good insight into things he’s been involved with: from Orlando Brown’s recent outlandish allegations, Gabrielle Union vs America’s Got Talent and of course his decade long feud with Eminem. Cannon’s back and forth with Eminem has brought his music back into the spotlight, a very dimly lit spotlight but spotlight nonetheless, which brings us to his most recent release ‘The Miseducation of the Negro You Love to Hate’ Now I haven’t listened to a Nick Cannon song in, well…ever actually, but decided to give this a spin and share my thoughts. Oh, the things we do when dodging responsibilities.
Let’s start with the positives:
The concept of the project is a reference to Ice Cube’s “The N**** Ya Love To Hate” merged with a book published in 1933 by Carter G. Woodson titled “The Mis-Education of the Negro.” If you’re unfamiliar with either, “The N**** Ya Love To Hate” sees a highly volatile and newly solo Ice Cube being as reckless as you’d expect in 1990 – long before his transition into movie stardom. The song opens immediately with the lines “I heard payback’s a mother******* n****/That’s why I’m sick of being treated like a gotdamn stepchild/F*** a punk cause I ain’t him/You gotta deal with the 9 double m.” The song touches on the mistreatment of black people, the incarceration vs college ratio, while also taking jabs at Soul Train and Arsenio Hall. If you’re even slightly familiar with rap during that period, you can probably guess what the production sounds like and it’s just as brash as you think. While “The Mis-Education of the Negro” is based on the lack of tact, awareness, and right to educate African Americans fairly. Challenging the presence of literature that contained Negro History and what that literature was based on. Resources were scarce and accurate representation was certainly unheard of; with Africans being taught as people who were subhuman, primitive in nature who lacked any set of skills while enforcing the narrative of being inferior to the white race. Woodson challenged this as a form of brainwashing that deprived and erased the black child of their heritage.
Those are some pretty big shoes for Sir Nicholas to fill – [Narrator’s Note: he, in fact, did not fill them.]
Actually, the concept is the only positive. I’m sure I ended up spending more time talking about it as opposed to this collection of songs. “The Miseducation of the Negro You Love to Hate” is filled with a substantial amount of spoken word clips in the attempt of driving home whatever message the listener is expected to receive. Meanwhile, Nick does his best New Age rap impersonation i.e. endless autotune, lyrics about money, women, weed, private jets, and Eminem, again. As a matter of fact, this one-sided back and forth with Mr. Mathers is the main takeaway from this project. He’s referenced, in some way, on nearly every track along with 50 Cent. The most straightforward diss to the pair appear on “Used To Look Up To You” with lines like “Thought it was easy/ but bye to G Marshall,” “D*** riding little Marshall Mathers,” “Damn, I thought you supposed to be a legend/ Now that boy all in his feelings” and of course the classic lines “We don’t ever see you/ boy you’re like a shadow/ Got em curling up…armadillo.” Throughout this song, in particular, it amazed me the talent it took to be on-beat while, simultaneously, off-beat; it’s rather astounding.
To say the absolute most about this project would be to say it’s decent at best. Production throughout isn’t bad but in a world where you had the option of listening to Future or Nick Cannon, I would much rather the toxicity that comes with Nayvadius instead. Although the closing track “Instead of Nipsey” is a good attempt at speaking on black issues – to Nick’s standards – the almost 30 minute long, seven-song tracklist leaves much to be desired after the aforementioned concept and interview clips. Needless to say, this ended up being the waste of time my subconscious knew it’d be. However, I do applaud Nick “Stay With A Check” Cannon’s desire to continue pushing forward in the face of adversity, this could be inspiring but instead comes across as a complete lack of self-awareness. If I must say, it’s pretty Ncredible.