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Nas Writes Open Letter To Honor Black Musicians For Black History Month Celebration

By Diana Samson | Feb 08, 2018 12:51 AM EST

Nas is paying tribute to all the black musicians that inspired him to make his own music and become a legend in his own right. 

As part of Google's celebration of Black History Month, the award-winning rapper penned a touching tribute to the likes of Louis Armstrong, Robert Johnson, Sarah Vaughn, Slick Rick, and Michael Jackson, and the Jackson 5.

To His Heroes

"Music has scored my life since day one," Nas wrote on Google's Arts & Culture website. 

He recounted how music influenced his experience growing up in Queens, New York. He said that he was surrounded by musical instruments in his childhood home, most of which originated from Africa. It was from blues, jazz, and folk music that he learned about the everyday struggles of the African-American community in America. 

"Black Culture was an everyday thing in our household and in the streets that flowed through the great maze of our beloved Queensbridge: the housing projects that taught me and my comrades a plethora of lessons that were harsh, harrowing, and humble," the hip-hop superstar stated. 

He also thanked the black artists before him who used their music to tell their own struggles and triumphs.  

"Native storytellers who shined a light on our purpose, preserved our legacy and, without question, rocked the house," he wrote. "The conversation never stops and we all continue to push it steadily along, through our arts n crafts and even within the way we speak."

The Arts and Culture division of Google has launched a dedicated web page that celebrates the black community, their struggles, and their contribution to arts, history, science, business, and other sectors in the United States. 

The multi-billion dollar tech company also released an accompanying video to the letter that features vintage photographs of Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, and more. 

 

Classical Nas

Recently, Nas was on television to perform a new spin to the tracks from his debut album. At the Kennedy Center, the rapper performed tracks from Illmatic such as "N.Y. State of Mind," "Life's a Bitch," "The World Is Yours," and more. He was accompanied by the National Symphony Orchestra. 

The performance was a part of the PBS' Great Performances and included in the special Live From the Kennedy Center: Classical Hip-Hop

Photographs and vintage footages of Nas were interspersed throughout the performance. The special also interviewed rappers throughout the years including Q-Tip of the rap group A Tribe Called Quest. 

 

 

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