By Brooks Newkirk
The Deal: God’s Son of hip-hop takes us on a lyrical journey of his past and present to prove that in order for hip-hop to move forward, we can’t forget where we came from.
The Good: During Nas’ set, he chronicled his musical history from his 1994 debut, Illmatic, to his most current release, 2006’s Hip-Hop Is Dead, showing that newer is not always better. Nas shined on classic joints like “Represent,” “New York State of Mind,” and “If I Ruled the World (Imagine That),” further solidifying why his name is mentioned in nearly every conversation regarding greats of hip-hop. He was in his purest form during “One Mic” and “Hate Me Now,” as he commanded the audience with his raw emotion that was absence during much of the set, and his lyrical prowess, which has never been stronger.
The Bad: Just about every track performed from his Hip-Hop Is Dead album including “Carry on Tradition,” “Can’t Forget About You,” and “Black Republican” fell flat. Nas even forgot the words to “Not Going Back,” which led me to believe that nobody, including Nas, bothered to listen to that album more than once.
The Verdict: Hands down, Nas is a lyrical genius. He effortlessly flowed through his catalogue of songs with assistance from DJ L.E.S., leaving the crowd filled to the rim with stories from his past, thought-provoking metaphors and verbal assaults. However, his stage performance leaves something to be desired. I’ve seen more energy exuded during bingo hour at the Tyvola Senior Citizen Center.