There’s much to love about the latest musical offerings from the legendary Nas. However, if you’re the subject of one of these new Nas tracks, you are less than thrilled with the direction he’s taken – and understandably so.
Nas was merely being open about his feelings as a father on the track “Daughters” – i.e. his yearning to be protective of his teenage daughter, how he felt after she “planted a box of condoms on her dresser, then she Instagramed it,” and what it’s like to see his daughter date an image of his former self. Fans like me enjoyed the track on its own merit, but also can’t express gratitude towards Nas for showing his peers how good maturation can sound on wax. However, his ex and the mother of his child, Carmen Bryan, resents the context in which he discussed their child.
Taking to Twitter to convey her anger, Bryan wrote: “Just heard ‘Daughters’ by Nas. What a disappointment! He had nothing positive to say about our daughter and his depiction of her is false!” She added: “His short coming was humiliating her in public by rehashing the mistakes she has made via a song. Not right.” Carmen also pointed out that Destiny was not given an opportunity to hear the song before the rest of us did and that she was embarrassed by it.
Nas fans flooded her timeline in response, but she was adamant about her position and even went further — calling it the wrong platform and alleging that the song was to appease fans’ impression of him at the expense of their daughter.
Admittedly, I didn’t think the song could really be that hurtful to Carmen or Destiny. That is, until I saw Carmen note that “you have to look at it from a 17 year old girls perspective.”
Once I did I got a better understand as to why they were both vexed by the song, especially if it’s embolden some Twitter users to have the gall to say things to Carmen like “perhaps you should have a talking to with your daughter if this is how her own father sees her” and informing her that she ought to be a better role model. To which Carmen said in response, “Or perhaps her father should be talking to her and spending more time with her so he can really get to know her.”
I don’t know the relationship between Nas and his daughter so I can’t speak to that, but I can see how “Daughters” is sort of akin your parents telling embarrassing tales about you and your transgressions — only with a much bigger audience. Some people don’t want their nightmare revisited for fear of further humiliation. This is especially so if the behavior in question is framed in a contemptuous context. A context as EBONY.com contributing writer Josie Pickens explained wasn’t necessarily the best interpretation.
As a writer, I’m aware that while I’m free to write about myself and my experiences, not everyone around me is so gung ho about my teapot overflowing. After giving a number of critics a taste of their own medicine, Bryan said she was no longer discussing the song per Destiny’s wishes. “At this time I am going to honor my daughter’s request and not validate the song by commenting on it any further,” Bryan said.
Had Nas bothered to talk to Destiny about his desire to discuss what he feels are her mistakes with the world before actually doing so, he might have avoided the big one he just made. One I can imagine she won’t soon forget.
Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer currently based in Los Angeles. You can read more of his work on his site, The Cynical Ones. Follow him on Twitter: @youngsinick