Even with a sudden downpour brought by thunderstorms Wednesday afternoon (July 18) in New York City, Nas’ faithful fans awaited the rapper’s arrival for his performance at the MLB Fan Cave in NoHo Manhattan, as part of the company’s 2012 concert series.
The Queens, N.Y., native released his 10th studio album, Life Is Good, Tuesday (July 17), and gave his supporters a set that included his latest tracks and a selection of classics from his almost two-decade long catalog, including Illmatic, I Am… and God’s Son.
Fans packed out the store and those not so lucky to make it in the intimate venue stuck around outside to see Nas hit the stage, even if only to catch a glimpse of his performance.
Keeping with the MLB-theme, Nas paid homage to his native Queens by rocking a custom New York Mets jersey with his last name Jones on the back. A blue Mets fitted hat, classic all-white Air Force Ones and a simple but lavish finish with gold framed shades completed the look.
DJ Green Lantern spun behind the rap legend as he opened the show with his single “The Don” from the new album. He then performed “Hip Hop Is Dead.”
Next he went into tracks from his debut album, Illmatic, including “N.Y. State of Mind,” “It Ain’t Hard To Tell,” “Represent” and “The World Is Yours.”
After doing “If I Ruled The World” sans Lauryn Hill, he circled back to perform two of the most revealing songs off Life Is Good — those that centered on the women in his life — including “Daughters,” dedicated to his own seed Destiny Jones, and “Bye Baby,” an open book of his experience divorcing his ex-wife Kelis.
“It’s probably the most important story on the album,” he said in reference to the song.
Nas also said in reference to Life Is Good, “That’s why I did this album. It had to make sense. I had to make you understand my walk.”
He didn’t leave the stage before performing some of his other popular tracks including “Nas Is Like,” “Hate Me Now,” “Made You Look” and wrapped up his set with “One Mic.”
A fan by the name of Mannie Styles from South Flushing, Queens, was front and center at the event, spitting every lyric to Nas’ songs. He also received a couple of daps from the rapper during the show due to being well-versed in his lyrics.
“I first touched Nas back in ’94. We about the same age range or whatever. We got that Illmatic early,” Styles shared.
Styles, whose favorite Nas cut is “N.Y. State Of Mind,” also added, “I love Nas. Nas is real hip-hop. He’s bringing it back.”