Nas

Jordan Strauss/WireImage.com

Hate him now, hear him later.

Controversial rapper Nas has announced that he is moving the release date of his highly anticipated ninth studio album back two weeks, from July 1 to July 15.

The set, the hip-hopster's second release for Def Jam and his own Jones Experience imprint, was originally supposed to hit stores in February under the title of N-gger. But following the requisite uproar, Nas scrapped that name and is now calling the album Untitled.

"It's important to me that this album gets to the fans," the hip-hopster said in a statement.

"It's been a long time coming. I want my fans to know that creatively and lyrically, they can expect the same content and the same messages. It's that important. The streets have been waiting for this for a long time. The people will always know what the real title of this album is and what to call it."

The first single, "Hero," shipped to radio stations last week and features R&B singer Keri Hilson. Another track, "Fried Chicken," features a guest turn by Busta Rhymes. Fans could also get their hands on a couple of other tunes that were leaked in the last few weeks, among them the Barack Obama-saluting "Black President," produced by DJ Green Lantern.

Nas' last album, Hip-Hop Is Dead, debuted in December 2006 at No. 1 on the Billboard charts and went on to sell more than 800,000 copies and score a Grammy nod for Best Rap Album.

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