Nas & Usher’s Demand For Social Revolution Gets A Symbolic Video

Hip-Hop Fans, please subscribe to AFH TV, a streaming video service focused on real Hip-Hop culture. We already have exclusive interviews, documentaries, and rare freestyles featuring some of Rap’s most iconic artists and personalities, and much more is coming--movies, TV series, talk shows. We need your support. It is only $1.99/month or $12/year, and is available on iOS, Android, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Google TV, for all subscribers. Start your 7-day free trial now. Thank you.

Usher’s single “Chains” is as heartfelt as anything ever released from the R&B/Pop icon. Joined by Nas and Bibi Bourelly, the record is a cry for not just change, but revolution. The 2015 song’s intricate lyrics reference “The Pledge Of Allegiance,” and some of the martyrs (Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Sean Bell) that have died to awaken society to the issues. Nas’ verse is both a dazzling display of flow, but more importantly a work of impassioned knowledge.

From weapons to baby pictures, the American flag to churches, protesters to police cruisers, the black-and-white video (starring only Usher of the performers) is filled with symbolic imagery. Notably, Nas’ nimble verse is delivered by a boy, who is growing up in this world that institutionally perceives him as a threat.

This song talks about how the themes of slavery are still very much alive in the United States—only in this era, the chains are invisible.

Related: Why Are Armed Whites Getting Treated Better than Unarmed Black & Brown Americans?