Last year, Nas commemorated the 20th anniversary of his seminal classic, Illmatic, with a re-issue, documentary and successful tour. To cap off his year-long celebration, he dropped "The Season," a brand new single backed by an infectious J Dilla sample, followed by "The Ride" in collaboration with Hennessy. With no plans of slowing down, the Brooklyn native continues to perform at festivals around the world and continues to fuel rumors of an impending new album release. But it's his latest achievement as executive producer of the documentary, Shake the Dust, that takes things to the next level.
Directed by celebrated photographer/filmmaker/journalist Adam Sjöberg, the film explores the global impact of hip-hop culture through breakdancing. Sjöberg traveled extensively, chronicling the stories of rappers, DJs, b-boys and b-girls in Colombia, Yemen, Uganda and Cambodia. He expounds, "Through the course of my travels, I’ve seen a great deal of human suffering….Paradoxically, I’ve also witnessed great hope and endurance in the midst of such suffering. I’ve seen joy and camaraderie in the face of adversity, and resilience amidst complete uncertainty of survival….My goal with Shake the Dust is to demonstrate that suffering is indeed present in these third-world countries, but it is not the majority of what is there."
Nas signed on as executive producer in 2013 stating, "What these kids are doing around the world reminds me why I fell in love with hip-hop and how important it is as a creative and constructive outlet,” Nas said in a statement. “After hearing Adam’s vision for this project and hearing the stories, I was incredibly excited to help bring the film to global audiences who need to hear this surprising message of empowerment.”
In addition to powerful stories and awe-inducing dance moves, the film also boasts an incredible soundtrack with hip-hop samples from around the world, plus songs from Talib Kweli, Common, Deeb, Vince Staples and Nas himself.
Now, the film is ready for release and available as a 30-day exclusive digital download through Vimeo on Demand. In addition to the digital premiere, the film will be screened at the CIMM Fest in Chicago on April 16th, followed by a limited theatrical rollout starting at the famed TCL Chinese Theater in Los Angeles (see dates below). Scroll down to view the captivating trailer and visit the film's website for additional info. If you can't wait to see it in theaters, head to Vimeo to rent or purchase the film.
After the trailer, watch Nas get analytical with Dr. Adam Gazzaley and Adam Sjöberg in The Power of Rhythm. The short discussion is one segment of Brilliant Rhythm, a four-part video collection commissioned by GE to explore the juncture of art and brain science.
Shake The Dust theatrical run:
4/16 – CIMM Fest, Chicago IL (Q&A w/Adam Sjoberg)
5/15-5/21 – TCL Chinese Theater, Hollywood CA
5/23 – 5/2 – Clinton Street Theater 2522 SE Clinton St Portland OR
6/11 & 6/14 – Film Bar Phoenix AZ Theatrical
6/18 Only – SIFF Film Center 305 Harrison St. Seattle WA
7/18 Only – Julydoscope Houston TX