Nas definitely stirred up controversy with the release of “Daughters,” a highly personal account of transgressions perpetrated by his own daughter Destiny, but with a healthy dose of self-criticism thrown in. The heartfelt track was met with heavily opinionated commentary, as even some who liked the song were critical of the public way Nas aired his family’s dirty laundry. There was immediate backlash by Destiny’s mother, Nas’ ex, Carmen Bryan, who took to Twitter to attack Nas and express her displeasure with “Daughters.” Even after some gossip outlets reported that Destiny herself was upset, it appears as though father and daughter have been on good terms since the release of the song.
The debate continues as to whether or not Nas was justified in sharing intimate details of his daughter’s personal life in his music. Many point out that her business had already been reported on publicly, a fact Nas echoed in the song where he claims to have learned about some of her antics though social networking sites. Some feel that Nas is only attempting to cash in on his family drama, eager to stir up buzz leading up to the release of Life Is Good, his next album.
Personally, I feel the controversy might be causing people to miss the point. The message of the song is as much about Nas’ realizations regarding his own parenting flaws as it is about the actual things Destiny did. While it would have been easy for Nas to direct blame toward Destiny’s mother, Carmen, Nas chose to blame himself, using his own experience to deliver a cautionary message to other fathers, rather than overly criticize either Destiny or Carmen. Not only that, while the subject matter does cross into personal territory, it is a bit hypocritical to call out a rap artist for actually keeping it real, and while Destiny might have had to deal with the initial embarrassment, one would imagine that she has lived enough of her life in the relative spotlight, that this wouldn’t necessarily break her.
In any event, the video for “Daughters” is well done, and works to help clarify what was probably Nas’ intended vibe, not wishing to embarrass his daughter, but to demonstrate in a uniquely personal way how he feels he failed her. Few hip hop artists could preach that message to other fathers, without sounding patronizing or soft, or would even try.