Back in October, Kanye West appeared at the Occupy Wall Street protests in Manhattan. Though he was there only briefly and let Russell Simmons do all the talking, the experience must have moved him, as he and Jay-Z‘s gritty, violent video for their Watch The Throne track “No Church In The Wild” is clearly influenced by the protests and civil unrest that took place all across the country. And it’s easily one of the most visceral, relevant clips of the year.
The video, directed by Roman Gavras (the man behind M.I.A.‘s haunting “Born Free” video) and shot in Prague, features neither member of The Throne, but instead focuses on two groups: protestors and the police, both at war with one another. And yes, this is war — it’s an unsettling and savage clip, depicting protestors being beaten and pepper-sprayed as they mercilessly combat with the police, though the protestors-turned-rioters also inflict a large part of the violence: they destroy property, loot stores, and set fire to cars — and humans. The video refuses to take sides, as there’s no winner when a conflict turns to violence.
Popping up at the end of the clip is an actual elephant, and we’ll let you decide what metaphor they’re trying to make.
The Throne, who released their first LP as a duo last August, are currently on tour in Europe til the end of June. “No Church In The Wild” recently popped up in the trailer for Baz Luhrman’s The Great Gatsby. Watch it here.