From Nas’ debut and classic album Illmatic, "One Love" becomes more than a colloquial phrase but a story. Nas paints the picture of his hood and the players within through written letters updating his confined friends on the news outside. Each person is in a different jail and based on the news Nas sends each have a separate issue unfolding on the outside. At the end of the video it almost comes full circle when a young man he counsels ends up arrested for shooting an innocent bystander. If there was a part two you could assume Nas would be sending him a letter as well.
Directed by Fab Five Freddy this story is given the proper care and execution to come alive. Freddy utilized his protege Brian Black Levar to shoot Nas’ “The World is Yours” remix video, giving him a narrative ending to follow. In the video, a man escapes from the police out of the back of his stash house. That same man continues to run from police in the very beginning of the “One Love” video and is the man Nas writes his first letter too.
Freddy shot on location mostly in Nas’ native home of Queensbridge, New York but also utilized a local jailhouse in New Jersey for the prison scenes. By recruiting neighborhood friends from Queens and Bed Stuy to play the roles as well as extras, the authenticity of the characters and locations cannot be questioned. 1990s Queensbridge shines in this video. Freddy shot the jailhouse scenes in black and white while everything in Queens was in color, making the stories Nas narrates to the audience and his friends come alive. Nas as an artist creates music that tell stories with so much detail you can imagine the environment. Freddy matched Nas’ ability with his own attention to detail and storytelling through script and camera.