Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Music Video Analysis: "Daughters" by Nas

Back in February, Bossip ran a series of pictures that Nas' 17-year-old daughter Destiny had put on Twitter. They showed a box of condoms by her bedside and her first car that she'd named "Cocaine." The last slide told Nas to "come get your daughter!!!"

The music video for his song "Daughters" released last week, and he's not shying away from the issues at hand. Take a look:

He starts out by immediately recognizing his role as a father and how that's impacted his daughter's perspective on the world. In fact, the whole video is shot through his daughter's eyes, a literal embodiment of how she's seen him throughout her life.

He's distraught that she's dating a guy who's in jail, and then he has some inner turmoil over whether or not it's hypocritical for him to be upset about this:

Never tried to hide who I was, she was taught and raised like
A princess, but while I'm on stage I can't leave her defenseless

Initially he praises his own parenting "she was taught and raised like a princess" (I'll leave that alone for now), but knows that he wasn't with her every moment. Perhaps this deviance is because of his absences while he was on tour. 

But he immediately follows that up by taking more direct responsibility for her decision making:

Plus she's seen me switching women, pops was on some pimp shit
She heard stories of her daddy thuggin'
So if her husband is a gangster can't be mad, I'll love him

He reasons that if she's in love with a gangster, he can't be mad at her because that's the image that he projected of himself. He doesn't stick with this train of thought for long though, as he immediately retracts his claim that he'll accept her boyfriend:

Never, for her I want better, homie in jail - dead that
Wait till he come home, you can see where his head's at

He goes on to speak directly to the Bossip incident, saying that "This social networks says 'Nas go and get ya kid.'"He talks about her "Instagramming" pictures of condoms and reflects on what this made him think about his own parenting:

At this point I realized I ain't the strictest parent
I'm too loose, I'm too cool with her
Shoulda drove on time to school with her
I thought I dropped enough jewels on her

But it's too late. He thought that pampering her with jewelry and money would make up for the time he didn't spend driving her to school, but now he's regretting that decision. His final verse is less specifically biographical and more general in its reflection:

I finally understand
It ain't easy to raise a girl as a single man
Nah, the way mothers feel for they sons, how fathers feel for they daughters
When he date, he straight, chip off his own papa
When she date, we wait behind the door with the sawed off
Cause we think no one is good enough for our daughters

I think it's really interesting that he ends by pointing out this double standard. Men praise their sons for being players on the dating scene but feel the pressure to protect their daughter from that very same interaction. I'm not sure if this is meant to excuse his daughter's actions (so what if she had some condoms on her desk. She's 17! If a teenage boy did the same thing, we wouldn't blink an eye) or if it's meant as an acknowledgment of wrongdoing and regret. 

The final scene of the video, though, is his daughter's smiling face as she drives off (immediately following a scene of graduation, so perhaps to college, but certainly to adulthood) while he waves goodbye. The previous moments were a montage of the video as a whole: his daughter's point of view of him peering into her crib, lighting her 3rd birthday candle, telling her to use her brain as well as her point of view of those more salacious moments (the condoms, the boys, etc.) 

That ending seems to suggest that she's going to be okay. He feels like he's given her the lessons that she needs, even if they haven't always been perfect. 

What do you think? Does Nas' song answer the criticism over his parenting, and--if so--is it adequate? Or did he even deserve the criticism in the first place? 

No comments:

Post a Comment