Throughout Jay-Z’s career, the Brooklyn MC has worn the King of New York crown, turned the Hot 97 Summer Jam stage into an annual exhibit of his greatness and probably increased sales of Yankees fitted hats more than Derek Jeter.
So you would think the video for a track called “Run This Town” would be an ode to his hometown, right? Not exactly.
Despite the clip being filmed in the Big Apple, at the historic Fort Trotten Park in Queens, the director, Anthony Mandler, said he wanted to avoid any semblance of New York’s iconic imagery.
“I wanted something that didn’t fit into ‘this is New York, this is a building or a street [you know],’ ” he explained to MTV News. “I wanted it to feel more ancient. I wanted it to feel more European but on American soil. I didn’t want it to have a framework, like, ‘Oh, we’re riding in New York.’ ”
Instead, the “Run This Town” video is a nihilistic, chaotic account of militia-like entities revolting, complete with Molotov-cocktail explosions, riot-like activity and the high-powered trio of Hov, Kanye West, and Rihanna performing in the midst of it all.
Mandler said the piece was more culturally inspired from current events, compared to the clip for “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune),” which referenced the Italian film “Zabriskie Point.”