Nas’ Makes History With 100-Member Orchestra In Washington D.C.

“I was inside a small room, inside a small apartment – writing in my books. Every thing I seen, everything I learned. And it just blew my mind. As a teenager, I was talking about a life that a Viet Nam vet had gone though. This is life.”

– Nas on his state of being while writing Illmatic.

Nas raised the bar over the weekend. Again.

The rap god performed two sold out, historic shows at the revered John F. Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. Friday and Saturday last weekend. Nas, backed by the National Symphony Orchestra, tore the house down by performing the entire Illmatic album, in honor of the opus’ 20th year anniversary. With DJ Green Lantern in tow, as well as a full rhythm section, Nas also cranked out other hit records like “One Mic,” “Made You Look,” “You’re Da Man” and “Hate Me Now.”

The crowd – of all shapes, ages, sizes and socio-economic backgrounds – loved every minute of the electric evening.

As the night closed, Nas said, “Its the end of the cassette tape (crowd laughs and moans). You can always turn it around. But this song here was inspired by Michael Jackson. If you notice on my (Illmatic) album cover was a kid with a little afro. I thought about it later and I was trying to channel Mike…with his afro. This one is from “Human Nature’ (from MJ’s coveted Thriller album).” The Queensbridge lyricist finished with “It Ain’t Hard To Tell.”

But the show wasn’t over.

The Nas, Green, the band and the 40-piece orchestra departed the stage. But, it didn’t last.

Soon, to the crowds delight, Nas returned with just a DJ and The Rhythm section for an encore performance.

Here are some clips:


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  • W.E.B. Du Bois

    sounded good – live needs good musicians, technicians, and equipment – like that

  • Eli Pinilla

    “True in the game, as long as blood is blue in my veins/I pour my hieneken brew, to my deceased crew/ in memory lane” nas

    I got that shit tatted on me….

    • Bruce Leeroy

      Super gay.

      • Guest

        Eli – your being called into question lol – read the comments above

    • Love to take a trip down memory lane

    • johnblacksad

      I hope you don’t have ‘hieneken’ tatted on you tho… no dis

      • Eli Pinilla

        Lmao!!!!!! Naw man, I switched it up….

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  • This man is like fine wine! Better with time. S/O to Nas for real

    • Bruce Leeroy


      • Ummmm I’m a girl genius

      • The_Good_Life

        Haahaa…dude got itchy trigger finger and just waiting for any excuse to push that gay button..

      • He’s a loser. Can’t even compliment my boy Nas wit out some troll breathing down my neck and accusing me of being a gay male… SMH

      • W.E.B. Du Bois

        that’s a problem with you foolish niew-gen — telling the truth in compiementing another guy – is unexcusable to you, then you can’t form alliances and move up in life ,- or be likable – your fools and hurt no one but yourselves by displaying such jealousy

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  • Jay-Z may have sold more records, but he’ll never be better than Nas.

    • johnblacksad


      • W.E.B. Du Bois

        re-read my comment above

      • I didnt re read it because I never read it in the first place. But now that I have, please read my above response to the first comment someone wrote.

      • W.E.B. Du Bois

        wasn’t talkin’ to you Shithead

      • I see…I apologize, for nothing frightens me more than internet tough guy gangstas.

      • W.E.B. Du Bois

        correcting your dumbass aint gangsta – its just correcting your dumbass

      • You really don’t want to compare intellect. You’re corny and boring me so I wont bother anymore.

      • Hard to argue against intelligent, well thought out logic like this. Thanks for your contribution to the conversation!

      • brotha_man

        only two of jay z albums can compete wit nas whole catalog. thats reasonable doubt and american gangsta.

      • brotha_man

        as ive stated before .IMO. Dmx is/was better than jayz until that devil took control.

    • I hear people say this a lot. I don’t disagree or agree but I would like to know why people feel this way. Even when Ether came out it was just ok to me but EVERYONE, including Jay himself, said Nas just totally killed him. To me Jay and Nas are both very intelligent rappers. Is it Nas’ more conscience lyrics that make people feel he’s superior?

      • Finally, intelligent discourse! Personally, I just feel Nas is better lyrically and his subject matter is more substancial. Most folks I know arent rich so talkin about all the cars you have means nothing to me. And Illmatic is greater than anything Jay has done. Also, if you look at any genre of music, the ones that sold the most records are hardly the best. Kenny G sold more than John Coltrane, Hammer more than A Tribe Called Quest, Michael Jackson more than Prince (although I’m sure some will argue against Prince bein better). The influence of Nas can be seen all over NY hip-hop and that INCLUDES Jay-Z.

      • Well put. Thank u

  • johnblacksad

    “…you ain’t live it
    You witnessed it from your folk’s pad
    You scribbled it on your notepad and created your life…”

    had to get that out…

    How did the 100-member orchestra turned into 40?

    don’t mind me… (lol) …let’s just enjoy this new achievement by Nas…
    it’s all for hip hop anyways…

    Sounds like it was one hell of a show… (Hov did this in 2006 for RD’s 10year anniversary… with Questlove leading the orchestra… not sure how this is unprecedented… but again… this is not about Hov…) …Bravo Nasir!

    • W.E.B. Du Bois

      put those drugs down

    • Slick Blak

      Jay Z going to have a baby in your THROAT my boy smh.

      • johnblacksad


    • ursocalledgod

      damn cant you let hip hops best lyricist GODSON get his shine without dick handling Jay? wow. the reason it got so much attention is because its NAS crowned the games best lyricist and writer even by CNN. he aint everywhere like Jay.

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  • ursocalledgod

    this is what seperates these fly by night no substance having mceess from the legends. you wont see any of em perform at this caliber. a crowd of intelligent hip hop lovers dont wanna hear shit like ” my nigga, my nigga” smh big up to the homie NASSIR.