Watch: Nas Performs with Full Orchestra for ‘Illmatic’ 20th Anniversary

20 years ago, the streets of Queens birthed what is now revered as one of the greatest hip-hop albums, a classic if there ever was one. In celebration of his magnum opus, Nas took the stage at The Kennedy Center in D.C., for a historic, orchestra-backed performance of 1994’s Illmatic.

Nas Celebrates 20th Annivesary of ‘Illmatic’

2500 hip-hop disciples of all ages came together to join Nastradamus in his celebration as he took the mic in front of 96 members of the National Symphony Orchestra, who killed reproductions of beatmasters like Large Professor, DJ Premier, Q-Tip, Pete Rock and L.E.S. The Don was also joined by DJ Green Lantern on the decks, Derrick Hodge on bass, and Daru Jones on drums for a fully rounded performance of legendary proportions.

Unlike most shows that take place in the largest theater of the Kennedy Center, fans at this one fully participated in the performance, singing along with favorites like “The World Is Yours” and “Life’s A Bitch” (imagine for a second, one of the most highly esteemed artistic centers in our nation’s capital, echoing with the chorus of “Life’s a bitch and then you die, that’s why we get high”). Take a moment to check out some fan footage from the performance, including a live rendition of Nas’ 1991 debut rap appearance with Main Source, “Live at the BBQ”.

“The World Is Yours” –

“You’re Da Man/Live At The BBQ” –

“One Love/Represent” –

Article by Arpan Somani

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