Words by Richard “Treats” Dryden
The official video for Jay-Z‘s “BAM” featuring Damian Marley is a short film set in Jamaica featuring Hov and Jr. Gong exploring Trench Town Culture Yard, and connecting for a session at Tuff Gong Studios with Sister Nancy. Nancy’s appearance forms the backbone of the video, as she delivers a spine-tingling, freestyled version of “Bam Bam,” the iconic dancehall single sampled on “BAM” by producer No-ID (which does not appear on the album version of the track). Throughout,the video’s director, Rohan Blair-Mangat, captures the essence of Jamaica, showing us the land from an aerial view, the strength and creativity of the people, the beaming sun, elements of the country’s flag, Nyabinghi drummers and even the nighttime hustle of dancers at a street dance.
In addition to Nancy, who Jay invited to join him in Jamaica after hearing her recent interview with Hot 97 (Nancy now resides in New Jersey), “BAM” features cameos from a number of notable Jamaican music figures including Kabaka Pyramid, Junior Reid, Tarrus Riley and producer Baby G, as well as Jr. Gong’s mother, Cindy Brakespeare. (While the song itself also pulls lyrically from Jacob Miller and Inner Circle‘s “Tenement Yard.”) Jr. Gong plays tour guide for Hov, on what looks like his first visit to Kingston, explaining the significance of Trenchtown, while Jay reacts with insight of his own. “I turned into a kid when I came here,” he says from his chair at Tuff Gong.
You’ll have to subscribe to TIDAL to see the full video right now, but here is a teaser via YouTube. For more on Jay-Z’s influences from yard, check out our Toppa Top 10 list of Hov’s “Most Jamaican Moments.”