Nas may deliver the most epic string of shout-outs in rap on the tail end of "Represent": My man Slate, Wallethead, Black Jay, Big Oogie. The voices of these faceless Queensbridge soldiers fill the booth on this Illmatic classic, and are personified in the speechless characters from "The Thief of Baghdad," a 1924 silent film who's score DJ Premier sampled for this beat. Director Brian Katz won a contest for the chance to chop up the old film against vintage Nas clips and stoic shots of the rapper puffing a Cuban watching the movie on a projector. The scenes recall the chaos and decadence Nas describes in his rhymes: gobs of jewelry and fine fabrics, lashings in the street, lust, betrayal, all in pursuit of life's finer things. The device works nicely, but I'd like to have seen what Wallethead and Black Jay were up to these days as well.
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