Nasir the national treasure. No, let's not shortchange the poetic genius, Nasir the worldwide revered.
Nas continued his 20th year celebration of his debut classic Illmatic last night (Apr. 12) at Coachella by performing the entire LP in its original track sequence, along with a couple of surprises.
Just about around midnight, Nas took the stage, dressed in all black from the hat to the Timbs, in front of a seeming sea of endless people.
Just as his minions remember, Nas started flawlessly, with "The Genesis" intro, "New York State of Mind," "Life's a Bitch" (sans AZ) and "The World is Yours." Just as he rapped about wanting his representation to be dead presidents, hip-hop's mogul poster-God walked on stage.
"Presidents to represent me," Nas repeated. "Presidents to represent me."
This transitioned into Jay Z performing "Dead Presidents" alongside his fellow member of the rap Mount Rushmore. No matter how many times you see Jay and Nas standing side by side, it's always epic. Always bone-chilling to see arguably the two greatest gutter griots ever on the same stage.
Jay wasn't done however, he also performed "Where I'm From," with the entire audience yelling “Biggie, Jay Z or Nas," at the famous part where he mentions the best MCs. Almost 20 years later, those three are still mentioned as the G.O.A.T.S.
After his nine-song set of Illmatic, Nas gave the crowd some bonuses, "Made You Look" and "Hate Me Now." Diddy, who had rocked earlier as part of Pharrell's star-studded ensemble set (Diddy Busta Rhymes, Diplo, Gwen Stefani, Nelly and Snoop Dogg all joined Skateboard P onstage) surprised the spectators with his classic shit talk and chorus.
"God sent you to us," Diddy said after the song. He also saluted Nas as being the ultimate artist and a "lyrical genius."