Leading up to the Castle Lite Extra Cold Music Concert all you heard amongst ‘headz’ was that NAS will be performing his classic debut album accompanied by a full Illmatic orchestra. As a lover of hip-hop I was finally going to see NAS perform in SA after missing his Durban performance a few years back. I was never prepared.
Celebrating 20 years since the release of Illmatic, Supersport Park Centurion, Pretoria was warmed up by the time NAS took the stage after a rather disappointing lip-syncing performance by Timbaland.
The time was 22:00 and I was shivering my way to the front to get a better view from the VIP area; it was only 2 degrees outside. The orchestra had set up and started playing the Illmatic intro and we all waited in anticipation for NAS to take the stage. As he appeared, thunderous screams exploded from the crowd. From that point the bassline made its introduction and the keyboards from Memory Lane started blasting at ignorant volumes from DJ Green Lantern’s speakers.
Nas shouted to the crowd: “Keep it on and on and on now!” and when the drums kicked in, the crowd went insane! The live drums forced their ways into my eardrums. You could not stand in that crowd and watch this hip-hop great, and not be moved. Even those whom were not ‘headz’ found themselves nodding their heads to the beat. It was inevitable.
There was an awkward moment however, when the rapper thought he was in Jo’burg instead of Centurion. NAS performed nine songs from his popular debut album Illmatic with the South African Philharmonic Orchestra accompanying him. One of the evening’s highlights was when he performed a tribute to the late Brenda Fassie in the form of her hit song “Vulindlela”
I went to the concert only to see Nasir Jones, despite acts like Timbaland and WIz Khalifa also on the line-up. Nas was legendary. I mean, how many times can you say you got to see one of the greats perform live with an orchestra in tow.
Written By: Sobukwe Guma
Image Credit: Entertainment MSN