Hate Me Now: Nas, Hype Williams, and Aaron Hernandez’s Tattoos
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 sketched 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.
“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.
Hear Aaron Hernandez talk about his ink here: Aaron Hernandez On Tattoos