Aside from what's obvious about Nas' concept of theme regarding his Nasir cover art, we were left pondering a few details. The sworn secrecy in the buildup to his drop (any minute now) has elevated the stakes on his album by a fair margin. The cover art was made available 17 hours ago via social media, leading many observers to analyze the image of five children lined up against a wall, with one child holding a toy robot and two others plastic guns.

We have since traced the image to its source, thanks to clever investigating by a Complex writer. The image which is also viewable in a personal gallery, was taken by Mary Ellen Mark, a photographer working out of South Dallas, Texas. The image was used in a 1988 write up published under a social study titled The War Zone, documenting drugs, violence, and poverty in the area. The article includes the following description by writer Jim Atkinson, himself an outsider looking in.

“Ten years ago this was a working-class neighborhood; now criminals dominate the area, Kids learn to play by watching the police, prostitutes work to support their habit, and families try desperately to stay together.”

Mary Ellen Mark's main intention intention with her work was to elicit the possibility of "Humanism" in her subjects. Judge for yourself. Once the album drops we can make our own inferences, and go from there.