The past two weeks have been an extended holiday for Nas fans, and the gifts just keep coming. “The Don,” now has visual accompaniment courtesy of director Aristotle. It’s a veritable NYC travelogue, opening with a nice wide shot of the Staten Island Ferry en route to Manhattan. It’s the first image in cool opening credits sequence that reminds me of the one from David Fincher’s Panic Room. Cormega should be delighted to see Nas in yet another pink suit like the one from the “Street Dreams” video. I guess Nas won’t let snaps or insults dictate his fashion choices. The theme seems to tie in with album title. Life is indeed good. A seemingly more mature Nas is shown balling out in a relatively refined manner. After enjoying a fine meal, Nas gets chauffeured around NYC while sporting a bow tie. For some reason, the bassline feels even more imposing when playing underneath these visuals. That’s interesting seeing as how nothing in the first half of the video looks or feels particularly threatening.
Things get a bit gully at the 1:17 mark, where Nas sports beige Timbs and army fatigues while standing in a ring of fire. The beat change at the 2:08 mark is accompanied by a black and white visual of a concert crowd bouncing in unison to the beat. It feels like Hip-Hop Night at the Tunnel, back when NYC was enjoying its last great hurrah. Though the lyrics revel in drug dealer/Mafioso chic, the video itself never veers into such territory. The whole thing ends with Nas leaving a flaming calling card on the ground like a superhero. This isn’t like the big budget mini-movies that Hype Williams did back in the 1990’s, but it’s still got that same feel to it. Regardless of how familiar it all seems, I’d rather see this than a video set in some coffee shop with Nas sporting a kufi and reciting poetry to a crowd of bohemians.