By: Biba Adams (@bibathediva)
When Nas performed "Illmatic" nearly five years ago with the National Symphony Orchestra, it was a great moment in hip-hop history.
The debut album which was written in the projects was now being performed on a massive stage and broadcast on public television. It was clear that hip-hop has not just grown up, but has become a cultural force.
The performance is not the first nor will it be the last that an orchestra has backed up a rapper.
Common and Kanye have both performed with classical artists. Miguel Atwood-Ferguson composed A Suite for Ma Dukes with an orchestra in 2010.
Hip-Hop and classical music make a unique pairing because they seem so contradictory. Rap is the music of the streets, while orchestral sounds conjure images of elitism.
Yet, the unique production of hip-hop is sonically complimented by orchestral sounds.
On March 5, 2019, hip-hop and classical music will once again join forces when Nas will again perform Illmatic with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for only the second time.
The Detroit concert will be nearly 25 years from the release of Illmatic and the show is sure to be a great event.
"When you hear an orchestra playing behind something, it changes the way you listen to it," says Erik Ronmark, Vice President of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, "It's a cross genre experience that we hope will move the audience."
The Detroit Symphony Orchestra knows that the legendary rapper will appeal to not only their regular guests, but to many who have never been to the orchestra.
"For some this will be the first time they have been inside the hall," Ronmark says, "Or their first time hearing an orchestra." Orchestra Hall is nearly 100 years old and is considered one of the world's most acoustically perfect concert halls.
The show is presented by The Detroit Pistons, who are on the board of the orchestra was coordinated by Adam Schneider, CEO of APS Presents-a California-based entertainment production and management company.
Schneider's relationships with both the Pistons and Nas helped when the DSO was listing artists for their Black History Month events.
"We had talked about a few artists," Ronmark states. "But, Nas was right at the top of that list."
Tickets for The Detroit Pistons Present Nas and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra are nearly sold out.
Tickets are being resold for as high as $8,000 at press time. Proceeds for the show benefit The Sphinx Organization, a national non-profit organization that supports the careers of young string players of colors. Visit the DSO online at dso.org