Using his Kanye West-produced album, Nasir, as a backdrop, Nas addresses the social issues plaguing America in a short film with the same title. Made up of performance sequences intercut with archival footage from the Civil Rights Movement and modern dramatic scenes portraying the themes of his album, the short film tackles police violence, poverty, and dirty politics, soundtracked by the Queens MC’s latest work.
The 16-minute film, directed by Rohan Blair-Mangat, who previously directed the video for “Bam” from Jay-Z’s 4:44, is just ten minutes shorter than the actual album, so while it manages to pack in most of the album, some of the already-short songs are cut even shorter, remaining just long enough to make an impact. It’s reminiscent of the excellent project from Tierra Whack, Whack World, which was also turned into a short collection of videos, but managed to use the whole album due to the one-minute runtime of its 15 tracks.
Throughout the Nasir film, the camera follows a young man from Nas’ old Queensbridge neighborhood as he struggles to survive in an ugly situation caused by his dire circumstances and his desire to leave them behind.
Nasir, the album, is out now via Def Jam and Mass Appeal.