About this Performance
With his debut album, Nas became one of the most important rappers in history. Illmatic was an instant classic upon its release in 1994, awarded the rare and coveted 5-mic rating by The Source, who raved, “Your mind races to keep up with Nas’ lyricism, while your body dips to the beat.” Critic Jelani Cobb would write that the album “quickly solidified [Nas’] reputation as the premier writer of his time.” The intricacy of Nas’ wordplay and his command of his stories—his ability to break your heart and blow your mind at the same time—has made Illmatic one of rap’s most influential records, a cornerstone of the genre. In 2014, for the album’s 20th anniversary, he performed the album in its entirety with the National Symphony Orchestra at a concert that later became the first rap show to be released by PBS’ Great Performances. He joins forces with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic to present the album in its entirety on this very special evening.
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