Brooklyn rapper Nas shared a special anniversary with a sizable crowd at the outdoor stage on Coachella day two of the second weekend. April 19 marked the 20th anniversary of Nas’ legendary Illmatic album, and the emcee played through the entire album before being joined on stage by a couple of very special guests in Damian Marley and finally, Lauryn Hill.
Nas’ performance proved that even 20 years later, he’s still one of the best rhyme busters in a live setting. His verses were flowing like he’d been touring in support of his debut album for all of the past 20 years and hip hop heads old and new showed their appreciation by getting down past midnight of what undoubtedly was the longest day of the weekend for many.
Nas told the story how lucky he was to be allowed to sample Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” before playing Illmatic single “It Ain’t Hard to Tell” to close out his set of the album. Damian Marley then joined him on stage for a couple of songs that had the smoke billowing into the air, which was fitting given that Nas’ set began at midnight of April 20 (4-20). Lauryn Hill, one of music’s most eclectic and odd performers, was by far the biggest surprise of the evening as she participated in a re-imagining of The Fugees’ “Ready or Not” to the shock and applause of the crowd.
It ended up being a great way to end day two of the second weekend on a high note.
Words: Mark E. Ortega