It was the summer of 94 and as a student at Virginia State University, most of my days were spent under a tree in the yard debating who had the hottest Hip Hop album that dropped. Heated debates with crews from NYC, DC, VA and ATL. Each crew held their own and stood up for the artist they repped. This was what we now define as the Golden Age of Hip Hop. Here we are more than 20 years later and the impact of the Golden Age of Hip Hop still runs strong through the airwaves and hearts of true fans of the genre.
Recently PBS broadcasted Nas as he performed his Illmatic album with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in DC. This kid from the Queensbridge projects performed in the capital of the known free world. This kid who saw violence and crime in the streets of New York growing up on a daily basis performed in a city known as the cradle of democracy and where free expression and artistry runs rampant. He stood in a city famous for presidents and senators that created laws that held many of color and of poor economic situations down. Nasir Jones vocals blended perfectly with woodwind, brass and percussion instruments who rarely dabbled in the world of Hip Hop. A classic touch to a classic album.
On a personal note, I wonder why it took PBS 4 years to broadcast this? Another story for another day I guess.
Now when talking about this performance most people would say check it out on YouTube or pull it up on your DVR………nah son, take a listen to the MP3 with some headphones on so you can hear every vocal, every instrument, every cut, every scratch.
Trust me you will thank me later!