Nas is set to test hot-button race issues in rap by naming his next album NIGGA. While many of his peers are apologising for using the 'N' word in past lyrics and refusing to use the derogatory term, the defiant I Can hitmaker is challenging the politically correct by using it to title his next release. Nas told fans during a Friday night (12Oct07) show at New York's Roseland Ballroom, that he plans to release the album by the end of 2007. The album will be the follow-up to Nas' critically acclaimed Hip-Hop Is Dead album. Nas has at least one ally in his fight to keep the 'N' word alive and well in hip-hop - Mississippi rapper David Banner, who recently addressed the congressional rap lyrics hearings in Washington, D.C. by stating, "If by some stroke of the pen, hip-hop was silenced, the issues would still be present in our communities. Drugs, violence and the criminal element were around long before hip-hop existed."