To commemorate the 28th anniversary of his critically lauded debut Illmatic, Nas revived his classic tape on Sunday (May 1) in front of hundreds of concertgoers at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and performed all nine songs alongside a full orchestra.
The New York legend was joined on stage by Gustavo Dudamel and the L.A. Philharmonic orchestra as he ran through the album in its entirety. Nas himself brought along a DJ and a three-piece band to fill in any gaps.
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This isn’t the first time Nas has added some classical flair to his past work. The rapper previously ran through his 1994 debut with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center back in 2014 to commemorate the album’s 20th anniversary. The performance was later aired on PBS in its entirety as part of their Great Performance series in 2018.
“I worked on my thing,” Nas said in a clip from the performance. “I worked on my craft and I stuck to it. I hope that you can look through the dream with me and see the journey I took to be on this stage with an orchestra.”
Illmatic has often been hailed as one of the greatest albums of all time and kickstarted Nas’s illustrious and extensive career. He recently hit the Grammys stage on April 3 to give his first performance for the award show. The performance was a year after Nas won his first Grammy award for 2020’s King’s Disease, and the Magic rhymer performed a career-spanning medley of hits that was met with a standing ovation by the crowd and set the internet ablaze in praise long overdue.
Revisit that performance below.