A September 6 concert at Virginia Tech meant to "promote healing" has stirred controversy among the families of victims from the April 16 tragedy, the Collegiate Times reports.
Outraged parents contend that the decision to include Nas, one of the concert headliners, shows a lack of respect for the massacre's victims. Nas's lyrics "are indicative of the moral decay in our society that contributes to acts of violence," said a spokesman for the families. "For a university official to condone it or to be clueless of what this person's track record is—it's unconscionable beyond belief."
Nas's defenders, however, point to his status as "a pioneer of the socially conscious rap movement," and the Washington Post quotes lyrics from 2006's "Hip Hop Is Dead: "What influenced my raps? Stickups and killings. Kidnappings, project buildings, drug dealings. Criticize that, why is that?" He continues, "Most intellectuals will only half listen. So you can't blame jazz musicians."
The rest of the lineup is "rounded out" by the Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer, and country singer Phil Vassar. —Alison Go