Nas struts into the Harlem corner fried chicken spot. Paolo Gucci sunglasses sit perfectly on his face, his fade is sculpted, a leather trench coat sways behind him while a knit turtleneck and Timberland boots round out the look. If Instagram had existed in 1998, Belly would have ensured that Nas would be properly recognized as a fashion icon. These hypothetical accolades wouldn’t be credited to Nas alone. The film’s biggest aesthetic praises belong to director Hype Williams and costume designer June Ambrose. Spending a good portion of the late 1990s making music videos more cinematic than they had ever been, this legendary duo brought their unique, NYC-inflected style and flavor to the silver screen in 1998’s cult classic Belly.

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