"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: