Four years ago, Nas celebrated the 20th anniversary of his magnum opus Illmatic by giving the album the classical treatment and performing it with the National Symphony Orchestra for the PBS special Great Performances. The unique performance was revisited in a full special, Live From the Kennedy Center: Classical Hip-Hop, over the weekend and now, fans can finally witness what went down at the Kennedy Center that night.
Backed by the mellifluous sounds of the National Symphony Orchestra, Nas took the stage in a sharp black suit and dived into a crop of gems from his debut album, including “N.Y. State of Mind,” “Life’s a Bitch,” “The World Is Yours” and more. Interviews with the rapper over the years — and one featuring A Tribe Called Quest‘s Q-Tip — as well as vintage photos and footage of young Nas performing are interspersed between his performances.
“So many people read these different books — The Outliers, Bounce [The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice] — the kind of books that tell you how the most successful people came, and outside of those books you notice the people have a lot of privilege, they’re born into the right families and they go to the right schools and they have the right people guiding them to be great,” Nas said in the documentary. “I didn’t go to the schools that I wanted to go to, I didn’t graduate high school but I was determined, I was focused and I had some ideas.”
Nas will also be headed back to screens come March as part of Netflix’s new documentary series Rapture, an eight-episode series that will highlight the lives and careers of rappers like Logic, T.I, Dave East and Rapsody to name a few.