Nas Throws His Hands Up In Solidarity With Those Unjustly Killed By Cops
Near the midpoint of 2018, Nas released his NASIR album, produced entirely by Kanye West. Apart from having one producer, the legendary MC’s 11th album saw a different rollout than his other works. It was not until mid-November that fans got a video from the Mass Appeal/Def Jam Records release. That came in the form of a mini-movie, which included individual visuals from most of the 27-minute release.
“Cops Shot The Kid” is a highlight of that artful 16-minute video. Now, Nas and his label release the only charting single from Nasir on its own. Sadly, the symbolism and commentary on the Slick Rick-sampling song is something that remains relevant in the new year. Notably, MC Ricky D (who has recently been working on some Def Jam legacy materials) briefly appears in the vid.
The clip begins with Nas at dusk, reflecting from an exotic beach-side view. Richard Pryor’s monologue about experiencing racism and police brutality plays. Jarring footage of cops brutal handling of Black men and bodies covered up displays, blended with the sound of incessant gunshots. As ‘ye’s charged-up beat begins, the sequence cuts to a Boyz N’ The Hood-inspired chase sequence down a fenced alley. However, in the world of “Cops Shot The Kid,” it’s not neighborhood foes clashing, it is a police squad car that has this young Black man running for his life.
Nas raps his bars, with his Italian sports car parked in the middle of the road. The delivery is inter-cut with scenes of faces being slammed on hoods, “ghetto-bird” helicopters, flashing lights, and aggressive orders from officers with their guns drawn. As Kanye raps his verse, ta body is covered outside houses that look a lot like Nas’ Queensbridge childhood. Nas and Slick Rick, two highly-respected ambassadors of Hip-Hop culture, artists, and celebrities, are portrayed putting their hands up too. They’ve felt it in their lives. Also, these parents know the pain of raising children into this world of institutional racism where the badge seems always to be a shield to justice.
Back in the alley, another kid is shot by police. The tense visual comes to a close.