Award-winning American rapper Nas has defended Quentin Tarantino’s repeated use of the 'n-word' in Django Unchained, saying he doesn’t understand “what the big fuss is about.”
Critics including director Spike Lee have lambasted Tarantino in recent weeks for the 110 utterances of "n*****" in his violent western about a freed slave who becomes a bounty hunter. In fact, Lee went so far as to call Tarantino's use of the 'n-word' "disrespectful to my ancestors."
But Nas, who planned to call his ninth studio album N***** in 2008, was recently asked what he made of the furore surrounding Django’s salty language and said he doesn’t see why critics have got themselves so worked up over the picture.
"I didn't see what the big fuss was about. It's a movie, movie's by [Tarantino], why should we be surprised if the movie is raw?", he told MTV News.
Nas also pointed out that the context of Tarantino’s film was important, and said that the director’s films are well known for their “language” and “goriness”.
"He's one of the greatest filmmakers of our generation, and we don't go there to see anything less than rawness,” said the rapper. “He's an artist, and artists have to express themselves."
Tarantino has also defended Django Unchained’s multitude of “n-words”, claiming that the film’s historical setting and subject matter justify the epithet’s use.
Talking to The Root, he said: “If you're going to make a movie about slavery and are taking a 21st-century viewer and putting them in that time period, you're going to hear some things that are going to be ugly, and you're going see some things that are going be ugly. That's just part and parcel of dealing truthfully with this story…
“Personally, I find [the criticism] ridiculous. Because it would be one thing if people are out there saying, 'You use it much more excessively in this movie than it was used in 1858 in Mississippi.' Well, nobody's saying that. And if you're not saying that, you're simply saying I should be lying. I should be watering it down. I should be making it more easy to digest.
“No, I don't want it to be easy to digest. I want it to be a big, gigantic boulder, a jagged pill and you have no water.”
British audiences will get the chance to make up their own minds about the film from Friday 18 January, when Django Unchained will be released in UK cinemas.