In 2014, Nas teamed up with the National Symphony Orchestra to deliver an electrifying rendition of his 1994 debut album, Illmatic. Unfortunately for the public, the only people who have seen this special performance were those who watched it live at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. … but that’s all about to change in the upcoming weeks.
PBS and Mass Appeal have joined forces to present Great Performances — Nas Live From the Kennedy Center: Classical Hip-Hop—a music film that focuses on the rapper’s seminal album as well as the events that took place on the night of the NSO concert.
“It’s crazy, you know, I wrote this in the projects in New York City. Here we are in the capital of America, Washington, DC, and, you know, a bunch of white people with strings and all that, playing this album, and they [sic] feeling it,” Nas says in the film.
The project will include performance footage, behind-the-scenes moments, and narration by the 44-year-old rapper, who will discuss the long lasting impact of Illmatic as well as the preparation for the 2014 performance.
“This was the first time me [sic], as a classical orchestra conductor, was going to branch out into the realm of doing hip-hop music and rap music,” Steven Reineke, National Symphony Orchestra Principal Pops Conductor Steven, explained. “And the idea of finally tackling this genre was something I was really looking forward to do.”
Great Performances — Nas Live From the Kennedy Center: Classical Hip-Hop will air at 9 p.m. ET, Feb. 2 on PBS.
You can check out a trailer for the film up top.