(AllHipHop News) Throughout his career Nas has used his music to explore and present historical information he felt was relevant to his listeners, so it’s not surprising the Queens emcee took advantage of the opportunity to learn more about his own family history.
Nas was able to accomplish that personal reflection thanks to the PBS series Finding Your Roots. The show’s host and executive producer, Henry Louis Gates Jr. of Harvard University, tapped Nas to become the first Hip Hop star to be featured on the program.
The experience greatly affected Nas. He spoke at a panel discussion about one particular moment when he saw 1859 papers showing one of his ancestors was sold as a slave.
“First I was enraged when I looked at the bill of sale,” said Nas. “I was like, that guy that owned property owes me some cash. My people made him really wealthy, so maybe I should find his family and talk.”
As Nas and Gates use Finding Your Roots to take a look back at the past, but both men are also actively involved in building Hip Hop culture’s future. The Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellowship is a key part of the Hiphop Archive and Research Institute at Harvard’s Du Bois Institute.
“Nas is a true visionary, and he consistently shows how boundaries can be pushed and expanded to further the cause of education and knowledge. The work of the Du Bois Institute is enriched by the addition of the Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellowship,” stated Gates.
[ALSO READ: Harvard Hiphop Archive Gets New Funding]
The 10-part season 2 of Finding Your Roots debuts on PBS on September 23. For more information visit pbs.org. Watch a preview below.