Nas and DJ Shadow’s new video isn’t a lyric video, as much as thousands-of-words worth of pictures!

The dream team of Nas and DJ Shadow’s new visuals for “Systematic” might not be quite what you would expect. As politically potent as Nas’ lyrics have always been, there’s always been a certain subtlety at play. Here, the visuals appear to be laid out blatantly, but a closer look reveals the type of potent subtext we’d expect from artists as subversive as Shadow and Nas. Factor in that it’s the lead single from the soundtrack to HBO’s Silicon Valley, and there’s quite a bit to deconstruct.

Directed by acclaimed visual artist TTK (frequent in-house contributor to Mass Appeal, the counter-culture magazine and label releasing the Silicon Valley soundtrack this June), the video’s corresponding imagery explodes across the screen, illuminating Nas’ lyrics in very compelling ways. It’s basically this generation’s dystopian take on Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” video.

The Silicon Valley soundtrack drops June 23. Imagine telling someone 20 years ago that the guy who made It Was Written was going to do a song with the guy who made Endtroducing for the soundtrack to a TV show from the guy who created Beavis and Butthead. What a time to be alive!

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