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Friday, March 16, 2018

NAS & The National Symphony Orchestra - "Illmatic"

This premiered a while ago but I haven't had the time to post this yet, but let me tell you that you're doing yourself a huge disservice if you sleep on this. NAS was invited to be a part of the PBS' show "Great Concerts" back in 2014 - a program/concert series that link up legendary artists from different genres to perform their masterwork backed up by a full sympony orchestra, in this case the National Symphony Orchestra usually heard at the Kennedy Center. PBS sponsors the concert and also broadcasts it and for this installment they got what I believe is the first Hip Hop artist to be a part of the program - and of course it was Nasty Nas and his delivery of the timeles "Illmatic" album. Sometimes a full-orchestra and the heat of the moment sucks away all of the magic that made the original gritty piece what it was - not so here. Interspersed with small interview segments and vocal clips between most of the songs the acutal music proves why "Illmatic" has stood the test of time and should be considered by everyone as just as important as albums like Sly & The Famiily Stones' "There's A Riot Going On", Beatles' "Revolver", "OK Computer" by Radiohead, "It Takes A Nation..." by Public Enemy, and David Bowie's "Low" to name a few.

Here Nas, dapperly suited, standing in front of a huge orchestra, also backed up by what's more aking to a jazz quartet and a DJ, put further notice that he still is the greatest and that his debut still holds up as Hip Hop's crowning achivement. Hearing a live rendition of the LP with a huge instrumental barrage is further proof of that. Be sure to watch this while It's still available. Unfortunately PBS will only let you watch it if you're in the US but luckily anonymous YouTube user LonnieMac has supplied the rest of us with a HQ rip of the entire 52 minutes set. Don't sleep, this is Hip Hop history in the making!

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