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Jay-Z, Rihanna, Kanye West's Dark "Run This Town" Video Debuts

August 20, 2009 1:58 PM ET

The video for Jay-Z's Blueprint 3 single "Run This Town" wasn't supposed to premiere on MTV until tonight, but since this is 2009 and premiere and release dates mean next to nothing, the video leaked out yesterday (MTV Germany reportedly jumped the gun, according to Nah Right). Thankfully, MTV pushed up the video's debut, giving us a higher-quality view of the post-apocalyptic world occupied by Jay-Z, Rihanna and Kanye West that was envisioned by director Anthony Mandler. It's a civilization that takes Jigga's lyrical motif of "all black everything" very seriously. (Watch it, after the jump.)

When we first heard "Run This Town," we pictured Jay-Z and his posse staging a siege on Manhattan, or at least going to all the VIP spots most civilians only dream about like in the "D.O.A. (Death of Autotune)" video. Instead, we're introduced to a Mad Max-like landscape full of proto-biker gear, torches, face scarves and bombed-out buildings. Jay-Z and his gang of ruffians actually look like they're on a mission to slay Auto-Tune. Also, according to the video, Rihanna is the only female to survive the apocalypse, and West's verse about Reeboks, Rav4s and girls with two bee stings seem starkly out of place in the dismal future.

As Rock Daily previously reported, Jay-Z, Rihanna, Kanye West and probably some of those outfits will be on hand when the trio performs "Run This Town" in Los Angeles for the premiere episode of The Jay Leno Show on September 14th. The night before, Jay-Zâ€"possibly with West and RiRi in towâ€"will take the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards at New York's Radio City Music Hall. The Blueprint 3 itself will hit shelves September 11th. In addition to West and Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Young Jeezy, Drake, Empire of the Sun and more will feature on BP3.

Related Stories:
Jay-Z's "Blueprint 3" Track List Features Alicia Keys, Young Jeezy
Jay-Z Talks "Blueprint 3" Album Cover: "It's Still About Music"
Rihanna Returns and Kanye West Shines on Jay-Z's "Run This Town"

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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