Nas announced that his 12th studio album, Kings Disease, will be released Aug. 21 , through Mass Appeal Records. He released “Ultra Black,” featuring production from Hit-Boy, on Friday. It is his Nas’s first album since the 2018 Kanye West-produced Nasir.
The mid-tempo song is a black-pride anthem with a quintessential Nas sound. The production is similar to Nas’s material in the 1990s and 2000s, mixed with an old-school flair. It contains references to black people’s skin being different shades, black people’s hair, and black people’s contributions to music and culture. At the end of the song, Nas repeats, “black is beautiful.”
The track also contains a diss directed at Doja Cat. On the track, Nas raps, “We goin’ ultra black, unapologetically black/The opposite of Doja Cat.” Even though Doja Cat is multiracial, the “Say So” rapper came under controversy for past racist chatroom messages and a song with a derogatory slur in its title that she made.
CupcakKe tried to defend Doja, but she dissed the wrong rapper, and instead dissed Lil Nas X, whose song, “Old Town Road,” she remixed in 2019. However, both Nas and Lil Nas X performed “Old Town Road” at the Grammy Awards in February.
This is not the first time this year that Nas has lent his voice to black pride and the fight for racial justice and equality. He was among a long list of artists, actors, celebrities and organizations that signed an open letter calling for police reform. Rihanna, Billie Eilish, Future, Mariah Carey, Yvette Nicole Brown and Columbia Records were among the people and organizations that signed. In June, he teamed up YG, Black Thought, Rapsody, Jahi and Public Enemy for a remake of the latter’s “Fight the Power.” The updated track features references to George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.