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.

crucifixion

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.”

IF

IT

IS

TO

BE

IT

IS

UP

TO

ME

Hernandez

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

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