Nas pulled up backstage to North Coast Music Festival 2013 in a black Silverado. He hopped out with limited fanfare, him and three others. He casually took to the side stage, greeted his live drummer and DJ for the evening, and strolled on stage. He looked utterly confident, a feeling he maintained throughout one of the most amazing hip hop performances I’ve seen.
For an hour Nas energetically performed through his vast catalog of hits including “N.Y. State of Mind”, “It Ain’t Hard To Tell”, “Represent” and “The World is Yours”. I forgot how many hits Nas has created, and he wasted no time reminding me why he is one of the greatest rappers alive.
I’ve seen live drumming attempted many times at rap shows, but never as successful as this. The drummer played the beat from “Nasty” while Nas free-styled. Other notable cuts included rapping the second verse of “Got Ur Self A Gun” over Dr. Dre’s “Deep Cover” beat, and a few bars over the beat from “Let Nas Down”.
Despite several flubbed lines and several failed call and response attempts the crowd remained engaged and demanded an encore. Nas performed “One Mic”. It was an amazing set. Extra points go for not yelling at the sound man once and never performing a cappella.