Nas has made numerous forays into the world of film throughout his career. The legendary Queensbridge rapper has starred in movies such as Belly, In Too Deep and Monster while appearing in the 2014 documentary, Time Is Illmatic, which commemorated the 20th anniversary of his iconic debut album.
He even won the Emmy for Outstanding Sports Documentary in 2011 for Survival 1, an ESPN short film about the Liberian Amputee Soccer team that he directed, narrated and produced.
Now, Nas is set to step into the director’s chair once again for an upcoming documentary on the groundbreaking Hip Hop TV show Video Music Box, airing on Showtime on December 3.
Tentatively titled Video Music Box, the film features four decades’ worth of never-before-seen footage as it explores the series’ impact and influence on Hip Hop culture.
It also shines a spotlight on Video Music Box host and co-creator Ralph “Uncle Ralph” McDaniels, who became one of Hip Hop’s most important documentarians during the show’s historic run during the ’80s and ’90s while directing classic videos such as Wu-Tang Clan’s “C.R.E.A.M.” and Nas’ “It Ain’t Hard To Tell.”
Launched on New York City’s WNYC-TV (now WPXN-TV) in 1983, Video Music Box was the first TV show to play rap videos — five years before Yo! MTV Raps hit screens. The pioneering series chronicled the rise of Hip Hop greats including JAY-Z, 2Pac, The Notorious B.I.G., Run-DMC, Wu-Tang Clan and LL COOL J while capturing many other classic moments on camera.
“Ralph McDaniels was the first to give us an opportunity to express our talent,” Nas said of the revered Video Music Box host.
The Video Music Box documentary kicks off Showtime’s “Hip Hop 50” campaign, a three-year, multi-platform collaboration with Nas and Mass Appeal’s Sacha Jenkins celebrating the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop.
The campaign includes two more documentaries that are set to air on the network in December: Josh Swade’s Ricky Powell: The Individualist about the late NYC photography legend, and the graffiti culture film Rolling Like Thunder, directed by Roger Gastman.