Nas screens video for album's first single

B&W video inspired by old Spike Lee films

NEW YORK -- Rapper Nas has revealed the video for "Be a N***** Too," the lead single from his upcoming untitled album, due July 1 via Def Jam. The clip was unveiled for media Thursday night at the Tribeca Grand Hotel in New York.

The treatment for the black-and-white video, directed by Rik Cordero, features Nas looking at his reflection through a mirror and rapping about racism, politics and religion, among other things, while images of people of different races sporadically appear throughout. "We all black within, OK/we all African, OK," the Queensbridge rapper rhymes over a piano-heavy beat.

Towards the middle of the video, a scene of what appears to be a white slave owner pointing a gun at a black male slave emerges, right before the song shifts into its chorus: "They like to strangle n*ggers / blaming n*****s/hanging n*****s/still you wanna be a n***** too?"

At the end, Nas, still facing the mirror, says, "F*** you. You had it all, and you threw it all away." When asked about the significance of that portion of the video, Nas said the concept was Cordero's idea and he "just went with it."

According to Cordero, the clip was inspired by old Spike Lee films. It features cameos by Latina rapper La Bruja and actor John Cho ("Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle"), among others.

Although the album won't be titled "N*****" as originally planned, its cover -- an image of Nas' bare back with welts similar to the ones slaves endured from lashings -- "speaks for itself. It says 'n*****' real loud," he said.

That image was on display in the room during the screening last night, but at the time was not being trumpeted as the official cover. A Nas spokesperson confirms it will be used as such.