In writing this I am struck with a literary dilemma; I don’t know how to begin an article about one of the best rappers alive. I could sing praises to the influence of Illmatic, make an ironic joke about how Hip Hop is NOT Dead, give props for the implied title of his more recent album Untitled (read more about that here), or even make a vin diagram contrasting the polarized Rolling Stone and Pitchfork reviews of said album—but the way I see it, none of that would accomplish anything.
Nas has never produced mainstream material; each of his songs is so mesmerizingly lyrical that if it were played in a club, the dance floor would transform itself into a forum for sociopolitical debate. Along with polemical subject matter, Nas utilizes virtuosic poetic talent in his work. In short, he is just about the opposite of Soulja Boy, but you already knew that. What you may not know is that two months ago he teamed up with DJ Green Lantern and released “The Nigger Mixtape”, a compilation featuring works from the producers as well as stic.man of Dead Prez, DJ Toomp, DJ Khalil, and others. This album is free for download so I’ll let it speak for itself, just know that I think it is fucking rad, and another contender for best release of the summer.
If we were talking to each other in person you would see a big “I know something you don’t know” smile on my face. But as we’re not face-to-face, I’ll just have to tell you: this Sunday the 24th, Nas and DJ Green Lantern, along with Talib Kweli and Jay Electronica, will be performing two shows (at 6:30 and 10:30) at Emo’s. So we’ve already established that Nas and Green Lantern are indescribably good (for lack of a better word), but I highly recommend that you check out the NYU educated Talib Kweli. Most noteable, is his work with Mos Def on Blackstar, as well as his yearly support of the "Black August Benefit Concert" since its inception.
Considering that Nas stole the show at Rock The Bells out in California, you'll want to get tickets now, and show up early.