Artist: NasTitle: Nas @ Nokia Theater (Concert Review)Rating: 4 1/2 StarsReviewed by: odeisel
Here Lies Hip-Hop August 11, 1973-???
The line stretched around the block at the Nokia Theatre to see the funeral procession. Following a furious set of old school tunes by DJ Cut, L.E.S. took over and brought out the Master of Ceremonies, NAS to preside over the service and send Hip-Hop off with honor
Nas opened up with a few joints from his latest work Hip Hop is Dead including a rousing rendition of “Black Republican” sans Jay-Z and culminating with a frenzied performance of “Hip Hop is Dead” complete with breakdancers who freaked many old school backspins windmills and head spins. A quick view of the crowd showed people of all races, sexes, and styles; all of them true Nas fans singing the words to a week old album. It was standing room only and there were no passing lanes. You were where you were, a true packed house.
Following his opening set, Nas retreated for a wardrobe change to the old army jacket (89’s babies heads up) and came out to the DJ Premier produced classic “New York State of Mind” that had the few thousand fans going word for word with Nas. Its been rumored that you’ll no longer find Nas with a ton of reefa and it shows as his energy was higher than ever seen at any previous performance. No forgotten lyrics, no out of breath pauses filled by hype men. Just hard-core rhyming, a DJ and no DATS.
He went effortlessly through his catalogue; going from “Represent” and “One Love” from Ilmatic, to “The Message” and “Street Dreams” from It was Written, to a crowd-rocking rendition of “Hate Me Now” from Nastradamus, including the self-titled track. For good measure he checked the true level of fans’ knowledge with a collection of teasers from the Lost Tapes album. The fans did not disappoint.
Nas has been known for having issues with his relationships but in the spirit of Christmas you can suppose he mended a few of those “rifts” as he brought out Quan for their hit “Just a Moment” from the Street’s Disciple album. Then came two moments that people thought they would never see. Much in the same vein as his reconciliation with Jigga, Nas began to go into “Affirmative Action,” when out walks Cormega! With blood being thicker than water they did their verse when the music stops. Taking the surprise meter up another notch, out walks Foxy Brown, fully recovered from her hearing loss and performing her breast, ahem, best, rendition of her verse from the song and then going into a song of her own. The crowd was totally bananas. Slowly bringing the crowd down from the high Nas performed one of his most powerful songs, the alternately melancholy and chaotic “One Mic” which had people on the edge of their seats. He brought out newcomer Chrisette Michelle for a performance of “Can’t Forget About You” off his new album. Quiet as kept, Jill Scott better watch her back, this girl is coming for that spot. Closing the show with the impossibly hard single “Made You Look,” Nas made it clear whos house it was this night as the crowd shouted BRAAAAVVVVEEE HEEAAARRTTS along with the song.
Hip-Hop may be dead, but Nas clearly shows that there is no resurrection without death, and if rises from the death like a Phoenix with the same energy as Nas had, then it will be a truly great event.