Can Lil Nas X do no harm?
The highly anticipated music video for his latest single with Jack Harlow, “Industry Baby,” is here — and it’s all the woes his fans were expecting, and then some.
Picking up where his first teaser left off, the rapper is sentenced to “five years in Montero State Prison,” a cheeky remark to his real name, Montero Lamar Hill, and the name of his debut album, Montero (release date unknown).
The video moves to three months later, where Nas is clearly the queen bee in his cell block.
He steps down the line with his fellow inmates, dressed in pink suits, before it turns into an epic dance scene in the prison showers, where they’re all naked – including Nas – and clearly brazen.
Later in the video, Harlow, a fellow inmate of Montero, gives the rapper a small pickaxe. Then, a la Shawshank Redemption, the duo helps the rest of the inmates break out of prison (but not before another epic dance sequence takes place in the yard).
With a story by Nas and direction by Christian Breslauer, the single produced by Take A Daytrip and Kanye West is the latest follow-up to rapper “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)” and “Sun Goes Down,” both part of his upcoming album .
The video also has an additional component, one with a much deeper purpose.
Nas collaborated with The bail project, a nonprofit organization that collects bail for people in custody.
In describing his choice to give back in this way, Nas wrote, “Music is the way I fight for liberation. It’s my act of resistance. But I also know that real freedom requires real change in the way the criminal justice system works. Starting with bail.”
“This is not just theoretical for me. It is personal,” he added. “I know the pain that incarceration brings to a family. And I know the disproportionate impact that bail has on black Americans. People love Vita from New Orleans, Kamren from Austin, and Leticia from Baton Rouge – their stories remind us why we need to take action.”
“So,” he continued. “I’m doing something about it and I invite you to join me. Ending bail is one of the most important civil rights issues of our time. Donate what you can to the Bail X Fund. Let’s bring people home and leave we fight for freedom and equality.”
Nearly half a million people are in jail on any given day for trial in the United States, according to The bail project.
In fact, young black men are 50 percent more likely to be detained for trial than white defendants, according to the Prison Policy Initiative. In addition, black and brown people receive bail amounts that are twice as high as white defendants. According to the data, a total of 65 percent of prison populations are unconvicted defendants who cannot afford bail.
In true Nas fashion, the rapper enjoys the many reactions that the release of the video entails.