The critically acclaimed emcee Nas can now add another notch to his belt – executive producer.

During this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, Nas brought out everyone from Jully Black to Kardinal Offishall to celebrate with him after showing Shake the Dust, his first run at being a film’s executive producer. The documentary, created by journalist Adam Sjoberg, takes a look at break-dancers and hip-hop enthusiasts across the globe, particularly in Colombia, Cambodia, Uganda and Yemen.

“On the world scale [the film] shows that hip-hip is education,” says Jully Black. “It shows longevity. It shows commitment to your passion. It shows that hip-hop and rappers are storytellers, not just ratchetry.”

Kardinal agrees. He says the film shows how hip-hop extends beyond North America, and it depicts what real kids who are struggling are drawing inspiration from.

“[It’s] really good to see that the kids, that literally have nothing, kids on the street, kids that turn to gangs, and drugs, to all those different things, that they still have music as a major springboard in their life to give them inspiration to not want to do things that are detrimental to themselves and the community,” Kardinal says.

In addition to executive producing the film, Nas created original music for its soundtrack.

Words By. Rebecca Akrasi-Sarpong + Photos By. Christina Inniss

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