What do I need to know?
The “Nature of the Threat” is considered by many to be Ras Kass’ magnum opus off of his debut album Soul On Ice. In it Ras Kass basically spits verses encyclopedia style documenting the evolution of man and the origins of racism. Ras Kass collected data from various sources but has been challenged many times on its accuracy in the fifteen years since its release. Regardless of the accuracy of the content its controversial and sure to offend someone.
What’s the story?
Ras Kass decided to write the song to scratch the itch of his interests in the origins and evolution of different nationalities and races. He starts 20,000 years in the past and makes his way to ’96 when the track was first released mixing in information from a number of resources including college textbooks and black nationalist writings.
As the Caucus mountain man reverted to that of a primate
Savage Neanderthals, until the late Paleolithic age
That’s when the Black Grimaldi man came
With the symbol of the dragon, fire and art
Check cave paintings in France and Spain to the Venus of Willendorf
Around 2000 B.C. Southern Russians migrate in small units
Those who travel West populated Europe
Those who went East settled in Iran, known as Aryans
1500 B.C. some crossed the Khyber Pass into India and
Created Hinduism, the first caste system, the origins of racism
A white dot on the forehead meant elite
The black dot – defeat; untrustable, untouchables
They wrote the holy Vedas in Sanskrit
That’s the language that created Greek, German, Latin and English
Is it any good?
Some people swear by this track while others find it boring. I’m somewhere in between. To me it’s one of those tracks you have to be in the mood to listen to. With that said its a cool concept and lyrically Ras Kass is up to par but the beat is kind of monotonous for a song that’s almost eight minutes in length. Poor beat selection has always been a criticism of Ras Kass’ work but given his focus on the content its likely he wanted something that would not overpower the message. Still musically it could be better. All in all this is one of those songs you’ll likely play every now and again (or all the time depending on your love for Mr. Austin) or only pull out when you want to prove to your friends that MCs can actually rap about other things besides sex, money and drugs.
Type of knowledge dropped?
Certainly book knowledge but whether you trust the information in the books Ras Kass references is another story. There is enough analysis, debate and conjecture on the internet so I won’t go into all of that. You can listen to the track and decide for yourself. Whether you love it or hate it the main point is he was able to leave a mark and succeeded in creating a dialogue.