Nas Is The Visible Man: The Illusion of Freedom
The train glides gracefully along the tracks, heralding the call to adventure. A message from destiny resounds, urging, “You should earn a medal for this; Quit fucking around and be a man.” What distinguishes Nas from the invisible man is Nas’ conscious recognition and rejection of his invisibility. Instead of succumbing to the illusion of democratic ignorance, he comprehended that freedom could not be bestowed; it must be cultivated within the depths of one’s heart, manifested with unwavering courage. Only when one embraces their circumstances can they liberate themselves from the shackles of societal expectations and prejudices. Nas is The Visible Man.
Both figures, astute and resolute, strive for their place in the world. These masterpieces underscore the proximity of mortality and the imperative of transformation. They emphasize the necessity to navigate one’s identity through trial and error, enduring pain and turmoil, scrutinizing dreams, and unleashing raw, visceral cries of despair that bespeak the plight of the downtrodden, who, in their confusion, implore the heavens for guidance. The illusion lies in the belief that freedom exists externally; it is, in fact, an internal relationship, projected onto the world.
Nas Is The Visible Man: A Complex Identity
In Nas’s world, a realm teeming with baseheads, mac 10s, E&J, and young brothas unhesitatingly pulling triggers to etch their names into the annals of infamy, we are compelled to contemplate: Who is he? He inhabits a sphere marred by stick-up kids brazenly committing robberies in broad daylight—a domain characterized by despair, nihilism, and rampant crime. Within this milieu, he confronts the harsh necessity of adapting to the criminal milieu while simultaneously embracing his inner skeelo. He emerges as a heroic figure, yet where the Invisible Man falters is in his ceaseless pursuit of validation from the white world. Black people exist within A Complex Identity.
Nas, on the other hand, harbors aspirations of emulating the likes of Al Capone and Scarface, all the while remaining acutely aware of his predicament as a young man ensnared in the throes of a criminal landscape. Unlike the Invisible Man, who wages an external battle fueled by anger and bitterness at his unseen existence, Nas imparts a profound wisdom: Life mirrors the depths of hell, but we must endure and persevere.
Nas Is The Visible Man: Invisibility
Being unnoticed carries several distinct advantages. It allows for personal growth, creativity, and self-improvement away from the prying eyes of the world. There exists a whole generation that feels as though the world has abandoned them, relegating their bodies and minds to obscurity. They believe they were excluded from a private gathering where they were deemed inconsequential, existing as if outside the boundaries of space and time. We exist within Invisibility.
Yet, akin to the invisible man concealed within his sanctuary, freedom is a state of mind unburdened by circumstances, wealth, or social status. Freedom is the readiness to live life to the fullest, even if it means facing mortality. It involves acknowledging history while refusing to be bound by a predetermined future.
From the lessons of the invisible man and the artistry of ‘Illmatic,’ we glean the importance of discovering one’s voice and asserting one’s existence.
On one hand, Nas embodies the essence of a gritty street warrior, ready to confront the harsh realities of life, often resorting to violence that makes brothers do backflips. Yet, on the other hand, he remains a young man who has experienced profound loss, having nearly lost not just a friend but a brother. Nas grapples with a profound ambiguity, as adapting to a world defined by brutality and madness necessitates the suppression of emotions. However, the human spirit is such that tears cannot be withheld, delusions persist, and visions of invincibility inevitably emerge, leading one to adopt the stoic facade worn by so many of our brethren.
Stoicism, though seemingly a virtue, in fact, serves as a barrier, preventing the acknowledgment of repressed pain until it festers like a parasitic infection, ultimately consuming its host. In a manner reminiscent of the invisible man wandering through the labyrinth of his mind, Nas encounters an old slave woman who, through her struggles, imparts a valuable lesson: “Freedom lies in the ability to articulate the thoughts within one’s mind.” Nas achieves this liberation by baring his pain, expressing his gratitude, and embracing the idea that “The World is Yours.” In doing so, Nas discovers a path to transform his inner turmoil into music, transcending the hole of invisibility.
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