According to Fader, Nas treated fans to an epic performance of his first album, Illmatic, with a special twist: he was backed by the National Symphony Orchestra!
The performance is part of PBS' Great Performances, and was recorded at the Kennedy Center four years ago.
Entitled Nas Live from the Kennedy Center – Classical Hip-Hop, the special episode aired on February 2, and is now streaming online via PBS Video. In the performance, his most popular songs “N.Y. State of Mind,” “The World Is Yours,” “Memory Lane (Sittin’ in Da Park)” and “It Ain’t Hard to Tell” were reinvented using classical sounds.
“It’s crazy, you know, I wrote this in the projects in New York City. Here we are in the capital of America, Washington, DC, and, you know, a bunch of white people with strings and all that, playing this album, and they feeling it,” the award-winning rapper told PBS during on-stage rehearsal.
Of course, the hype feeling was mutual!
“This was the first time, as a classical orchestra conductor, I was going to branch out into the realm of doing hip hop music and rap music," National Symphony Orchestra Principal Pops Conductor Steven Reineke said, "And the idea of finally tackling this genre was something I was really looking forward to do.”
Get into the great performance yourself below: