Review: Rapper Nas performs with National Symphony Orchestra

Posted on: March 31, 2014

In Monday’s (3/31) Washington Post, Marcus J. Moore writes, “When Nas wrote the rhymes for ‘Illmatic,’ he probably didn’t think he’d end up here. He couldn’t know that it would become one of the most decorated albums in rap history, and 20 years later, he’d celebrate its legacy by performing it in full, backed by the National Symphony Orchestra. Yet there he was Friday at the Kennedy Center, seemingly overwhelmed by that grand moment. Rappers aren’t supposed to make it this far, especially those from the Queensbridge projects in New York.… Released in April 1994, ‘Illmatic’ has achieved pantheon status for its poetic and cinematic depiction of inner-city blight.… This was an achievement for one of rap’s good guys and the genre as a whole. And it was a fitting main event for the Kennedy Center’s One Mic: Hip-Hop Culture Worldwide festival, during which the arts institution celebrates the history and vitality of the genre.… Shortly after 8 p.m., NSO Pops conductor Steven Reineke skipped onto the stage to prepare the 100-member group.… The orchestra put sophisticated twists on ‘Life’s a B—-,’ ‘One Love’ and ‘Represent,’ which felt ironic given the music’s gritty nature, yet the sounds swelled beautifully throughout the spacious theater.”

Posted March 31, 2014