Nas’ critical “Cops Shot The Kid” previously received the visual treatment in his short film Nasir accompanying the Kanye West-produced album of the same name, but now, he gives it its own incendiary, standalone video.
In the video, which also features a cameo appearance from Slick Rick, who is sampled on the beat for the song, violent scenes of police brutality play out as Nas himself raps in a darkened alleyway raising his fist in protest. In one of the vignettes, a young man struggles to escape, but is shot in the back while running away, while another, a different teen is handcuffed by an officer as the officer’s partner points his pistol and yells threateningly at him.
Although Kanye doesn’t make an appearance in the video himself, his verse plays out over televised scenes of police covering up a crime scene as a pair of small children watch and recite his lyrics.
Although the album Nasir was well-received in some quarters, it was ultimately overshadowed later that same weekend by the surprise release of erstwhile rival Jay-Z’s joint album with Beyonce, Everything Is Love. Then, a week later, Kanye had already turned his attention to Teyana Taylor’s KTSE, so it’s nice to see that Nas’ collaborative project is still receiving some push, especially this song with such an important message.
Nasir is out now via GOOD Music/Mass Appeal/Def Jam.