May 22, 2018 / 4:05 AM

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Nas To Perform 'Illmatic' Live Rendition With National Symphony Orchestra



Nasir Bin Olu Dara Jones, better known by his stage name as Nas, has teamed up with PBS to release a documentary film on his concert performance of Illmatic.

In 2014, Nas took the Kennedy Center in Washington DC by storm when he gave a live concert performance of his 1994 debut album Illmatic. Those who were at the event heard how the hip-hop artist's songs transformed into something electrifying when Nas teamed up with the National Symphony Orchestra.

Fortunately, those who missed the event will find out for themselves how Nas sound like with a live orchestra backing him up. The 44-year-old rapper and record producer has teamed up with PBS to release a music film that documents his euphonious performance of Illmatic at the Kennedy Center that marks the 20th anniversary of the album's release.

The film, titled Nas: Live From the Kennedy Center: Classical Hip-Hop, will feature backstage moments and performance footage. The film will also give a behind-the-scenes look at the preparation for the 2014 live concert.

Likewise, the documentary will include a narration from Nas as he talks about Illmatic and the inspiration behind his music. There will also be candid shots of the hip-hop artist from his youth and an inside look at his life growing up in New York City. Nas will also talk about his experience performing his debut album with the National Symphony Orchestra.

"It's crazy, you know, I wrote this in the projects in New York City. Here we are in the capital of America, Washington, DC, and, you know, a bunch of white people with strings and all that, playing this album, and they [sic] feeling it," Nas said in the behind-the-scenes video taken during the on-stage rehearsal prior to the concert.

Nas performed four tracks from Illmatic with the orchestra. These include "Memory Lane (Sittin' in Da Park)," "N.Y. State of Mind," "It Ain't Hard to Tell," and "The World Is Yours."

Steven Reineke, the principal conductor for the National Symphony Orchestra, admitted that he was looking forward to working with Nas. He said the innovative collaboration was the first time that a classical orchestra conductor branched out into the realm of doing hip-hop and rap music.

Nas: Live From the Kennedy Center: Classical Hip-Hop is part of PBS' Great Performances series and will air on Feb. 2 at 9 p.m. It will stream on the network's website afterward and on PBS apps.

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