Video Review: Nas “I Can”

Nas stands in the street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

A 13-year-old girl plays the piano in the field behind a building. An 8-year-old girl and boy jump on a mattress a few feet away from her.

A group of kids stand in front of an apartment building.

Several kids break dance on the ground by a school. Teenagers stand by a building.

Nas joins the group of kids standing by the apartment building as he raps.

The kids play basketball in the park. A little boy talks to his friends as he rides his scooter. The teenagers dance by the school. Two 8-year-old girls stand by the billboard with a microphone. The teenage girls fawn over the 8-year-old boy wearing gold jewelry. The 8-year-old kisses one of the teenage girl’s hands.

The group of kids follow Nas as they walk in the street.

Nas stands by a projector, which features hieroglyphics and the pyramids. A gold pyramid appears on the screen and it breaks. Cash springs out of it. An African-American woman works in the field. In black-and-white, a ship spins around. Martin Luther King, Jr. gives a speech.

A group of 13-year-old kids play their instruments.

As Nas walks in the classroom, sheet music flies.

Rating: 4/5

The 13-year-old girl plays the piano at the community center. Her teacher gives her a high-five once she finishes the piece. She asks if her teacher wants to listen to something she wrote. Her teacher shakes her head yes and nods her head as she listens. Her teacher tells her it’s beautiful. The 13-year-old says she can’t wait for the recital.

Returning home, her mother shakes the spatula at her and wants to know where she was. The 13-year-old girl says she was at the community center. Her mother shrugs and says the piano isn’t going to take her nowhere. The 13-year-old holds the crumpled brochure for a music school out of state. She’s going to get out someday. Her mom may not believe in her but she knows she can do it.

Her teenage sister says she’s not staying for dinner. She’s going out with her boyfriend. Her mother calls out “okay” and asks her to say hello to her boyfriend. Her mother tells she needs to follow in her sister’s footsteps. She already has a man and has someone to take care of her.

She doesn’t want to be her sister. Her sister told her she thinks she might be pregnant and asked her if she could go to the doctor’s office with her. Her sister says she doesn’t know what to do and she’s scared. Her boyfriend isn’t going to stay with her. She asks her sister about the appointment and she says it’s on a Friday. She tells her she has her concert. Her teenage sister hugs her and says she wouldn’t miss her recital for anything.

Director: Chris Robinson Year: 2003

Pam Avoledo Administrator
Pam Avoledo spends her time binge-watching classic teen dramas and stands firm in her pro-Leyton stance. She also received her journalism degree in 2006 from Oakland University. Her work has been published in the White Wall Review, Sledgehammer Lit ,Greatest City Collective & 45 Magazine . Fevers of the Mind, and forthcoming in Daily Drunk Mag\'s Kirstofia anthology.