Ugh… I just spent more time than anticipated blogging about the new Jay-Z/Kanye video and I was all set to call it a night… and then I stumbled across the latest from Common and Nas. Superstar hip hop collabos are apparently the theme of the night and surely I couldn’t blog about one and not the other, right?
So in a nutshell, Common and Nas’ “Ghetto Dreams” gets right pretty much everything that I thought was wrong with the higher profile offering from Mr. Z and Mr. West. Unlike the flossfest that is the “Otis” video, C. ‘n’ N. opt for something a bit more gritty, a bit more raw and something that recalls what many consider the golden era of hip hop, the early 90s. Featuring a beat that was meant to be bumped at high decibels and strong offerings from both MCs, the video places the duo in a graffiti covered stairwell as they wax poetic, live and direct from the ‘jects, on the ghetto girl of their dreams. And after watching Jay & ‘Ye pal around with the melanin challenged choices for models in their video, it was a sweet breath of fresh air—- no, cocoa butter—- to see a (dark-skinned!) black girl being featured as an employed, “She Works Hard For The Money” piece of eye candy. Yes, her T&A are clearly exploited for maximum viewing pleasure and I wasn’t crazy about Comm’s cringe-worthy line about his dream girl having a “baby in one hand and a skillet in the other.” However, the fact that ol’ girl in the clip is clearly on her way to a job whose dress code requires a skirt and blazer sorta balances out some of the lyrics’ embarrassing misogyny, no?
Favorite moment in the video? That business about Common’s dream girl’s love for taking pictures that he punctuates with “...camera snap snappin… ahhh”, and then he hits you with a Polaroid pose. It’s simple but effective and I’ll watch the video every time just to see that part again. The track production, their flow, the look of the video, it all somehow manages to be throwback and right now at the same time. Watch The Throne couldn’t be more of an appropriate album title for Jay and Kanye’s collabo album project cuz the throne is precisely what Nas and Common are gunning for with the gutter banger that is “Ghetto Dreams”. Grade: B+
Oh, and is it me or does Common have a whole Isaac Hayes situation goin’ on in some shots?
WARNING: The video features the dirty version of the track so it might be a bit NSFW.
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