Hate Me Now: Nas, Hype Williams, and Aaron Hernandez’s Tattoos

hate me now“Die Mutha Fucka, Die Mutha Fucka Die,”

Crackles over the bass-boom between the first chorus to Nas’ 1998 come-up anthem “Hate Me Now.”

The song was sacred enough to Hernandez to have the title permanently inked in a globular frame of blood, prominently on the back of his arm.

You don’t give a fuck? I don’t give a fuck,” continuing the distorted ad-libs before the verse uncurls, “Don’t hate me, hate the money I see…”

Moving towards Hernandez’s back is the apotheosis of Jesus Christ?; the death of the body and fulfillment of the spirit– complete with cherubim and loosely sketchedHate-Me-Now-Aaron-Hernandez clouds– in memoria of the crest-fallen tight end’s father, who died Hernandez’s senior year of high school.

This larger-than-life body mural seems also heavily influenced by the Nas/Hype Williams collaboration, where the biblical crucifixion mutates into a contemporary struggle for transcendence– above  jealousy and persecution which accompanies celebrity culture; a violent validation of the self against the opposition; player haters.

The heavily inked Aaron Hernandez

“Mind On My Money,” “Born To Play This Game,” “No Fear;” Hernandez’s tattoos often read like you would expect any commercial rap package from the late ’90s; flashy, self-validating, violent, and caricature-esque.


Hype Williams, hip-hop’s pre-millennial visual taste-maker, sets Nas in a biblical crucifixion in contrast to the stereotypical club scenes– with obligatory ornamental bitches and extraneous explosions– all somehow to be taken with a neon-light-over-a-massage-parlor sensibility; whose purpose is not  to be illuminating–but merely attractive.Nas-HateMeNowftAaron Hernandez’s tattoos capture the pulp and frivolity of ’90s hip hop culture, albeit perhaps unintentionally. You get the sense that when Hernandez pens “No Fear” between a bloody sword on his sleeves–he means it.aaron.hernandez1hate_me_now_281x211What is invisible in the photo below is the tattoo on Aaron Hernandez’s  forearm, here partially concealed by handcuffs; ten, two-letter words, which Aaron’s father taught him as important; now a somber read beside humdrum expressions such as “Mind On My Money” and “It’s all about the fight.”












Hear Aaron Hernandez talk about his ink here: Aaron Hernandez On Tattoos