Nas Performs Entire Illmatic with a Symphony Orchestra | Full Show

Queensbridge's favorite son puts a new spin on his classic Illmatic album.

Back in 2014, Nas got to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of his heralded debut album by performing with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. The concert was filmed as part of PBS' Great Performances series and although that was more than three years ago, the full concert is finally available to watch and lucky for us it was worth the wait! Shot in beautiful style and with a lush and crisp soundscape, this is a breathtaking piece of art which is sure to delight hip-hop fans! 

The episode works as a mini-movie slash documentary and features interviews from the 90s plus more recent interviews with Nas and many others who were involved in the project. “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 feeling it,” Nas said about the performance in a trailer for the concert film.

The full film, which runs almost an hour in length, revisits Nas' upbringing and rise to fame, as well as getting a backstage look at the rehearsals for this unique hip-hop/orchestra collabo. The concert itself features Nas performing the entirety of his classic 39-minute, 10-track album. The original 'Illmatic' was first released in 1994 and produced classics like “N.Y. State of Mind,” “The World is Yours,” and “It Ain’t Hard to Tell.” Featuring a wide range of producers, Illmatic is also credited with ushering in a new era in rap music by restructuring the relationship between producers and MCs. 'Illmatic' went platinum in 2001 and is without a doubt one of the very best hip-hop albums ever. 

NewsAlexander Ramalho