Brian Katz hit the jackpot. Katz is a native New Yorker now working at a marketing agency in Los Angeles with no experience making music videos, but a contest by hip hop culture magazine Mass Appeal (for which Nas is listed as an associate publisher) gave Katz a shot at directing the latest visuals from Queensbridge’s own Nas, an artist Katz has been following since his own New York days as a teen two decades ago. To make it even sweeter, the contest called for treatments for a video for “Represent” off of Esco’s classic 1994 debut effort, Illmatic, with Nas himself picking a winner.
The resulting product features Nas, more than 20 years older than the youthful Nasir Jones rapping on the track, sitting on a couch and smoking a cigar as film of a 1920s silent movie flashes around him, with shots of a young Mr. Jones interspersed throughout. Speaking from coast to coast, I talked on the phone with Katz to chop it up about the once-in-a-lifetime experience creating the video.