The camera, in wide angle, takes us inside one of those cavernous, dingy warehouses which the average moviegoer will immediately associate with a drug deal about to go wrong, or illegal bare-knuckle fighting.
In the middle of the floor, an empty chair. A man with a guitar walks into the frame, and sits in the chair. He starts strumming.
Soon music with a hesitant, if silly, beat floats in the air. We hold our breaths, for there is an eerie feeling that we are about to be plunged into either a horror movie, or over-the-top slapstick comedy.
Cut to a rapper dressed only in pants and shoes as he comes into the picture. He accepts a gun from someone.
Fifty-two seconds into the video, he shoots the guitar player, now hooded, through the head.
Then he starts rapping furiously: "This is America/ Don't catch you slippin' up/ Look what I'm whippin' up."
We flinch. We want to look away, want to shut our eyes, but now we are hooked. More blood-drenched lyrics ("Look at how I'm livin' now/ Police be trippin' now/ Yeah, this is America/ Guns in my area") and more heart-stopping images follow.
Only when the video comes to its crashing climax, with the rapper running away from a lynch mob, do we begin to breathe again.
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