iHeartRadio LIVE and Verizon sent the PlayStation Theater in Times Square on a journey to Queensbridge Park to honor a legend, Nasir Bin Olu Dara Jones.

With nearly three decades under his belt, Nas’ latest LP, Nasir dropped after a time that proved to be both turbulent and triumphant for the hip-hop mainstay. While headlines of a child custody battle and alleged physical abuse towards his ex-wife Kelis swarmed the internet, the emcee reemerged with a 7-track Kanye-West produced offering. Withal, his fan’s allegiance endured, as a Big Apple assemblage stretched for blocks in anticipation of the Nasir listening (July 26).

To the scratches and spins of DJ Whutever, the voice of New York, Angie Martinez, strolled out sporting a track jacket, and Gucci kicks causing hysteria below center stage. And in his likeness, Martinez’s cultural impact ranks beside her reference to Nas — among the “illest of all-time in the game.” DJ Green Lantern was suddenly spotlighted behind turntables while The-Dream-assisted earworm, “Adam and Eve” thronged through the venue. Donning a Michael Jordan Space Jam throwback Tune Squad jersey, Nas ran on the scene. His lyricism finessed concert-goers with ease.

The Diddy-featured Nasir album introduction, “Not For Radio” brought the crowd his “Escobar season begins” reminder and undeniable swagger. But, with the ’94 Illmatic verses of “The World Is Yours” and “N.Y. State of Mind,” it was clear what #iHeartNas cherished most, the classics. Nas’ loyalist seamlessly followed up reciting his It Was Written gems, “The Message,” and “Street Dreams.” Still, the iconic vocals of Ms. Lauryn Hill on, “If I Ruled the World (Imagine That),” jolted his showmanship — before a Frank Sinatra sample looped into the song “Bonjour.”

In an effort to catapult the evening, the musical mélange of “Hate Me Now,” “Cops Shot the Kid,” “Got Ur Self A…,” and “Made You Look,” further substantiated how the rapper’s lyrical content has habitually reflected the political climate and experience from which he was birthed. Beyond braggadocious bars of wealth, the 44-year-old luminary’s staying power is credited to his intelligent wordplay, not gimmicks. Making “One Mic,” the appropriate expression which transitioned into his intimate interview with Martinez on behalf of Verizon and iHeartRadio.

These are a few takeaways from their live sit-down.

Read the full article by Bianca Alysse Mercado on TheKnockturnal.com

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