After a full day of learning at various panels with industry leaders and influencers, attendees of the REVOLT Music Conference dressed in their best to attend the event's unforgettable gala dinner Saturday night (October 15).
What made it so meaningful?
Not only was Nas the recipient of REVOLT's Jimmy Iovine Icon Award, but several of his family members and longtime friends gathered to honor who we've come to know as one of the most important voices in music and culture.
Through the night's presenters and performers, we were reminded that Nas is more than a poetic lyricist, but a business man, entrepreneur, and producer admired by many.
His cousin and "Blackish" star Yara Shahidi kicked things off after an unapologetic performance by singer Bibi Bourelly, sharing heartfelt words that detailed how much Nas has inspired her as a person and actress, and elaborating on how his raw and organic lyrics have inspired millions.
Shahidi also touched on Nas' involvement in film, not only an actor but as a creator. While the rapper landed an acting role in Hype Williams' 1998 film Belly, he has since also executive produced and composed music on projects like Netflix's "The Get Down," The Land, and his biographical documentary Time Is Illmatic.
"Nasir is half-man, half-amazing," said Shahidi not long before she introduced DMX to the stage.
DMX, who greeted the room with his famous lovable growl and formed a lifetime friendship with Nas while shooting Belly, made sure to express his sincerest love and gratitude for the Queensbridge legend, candidly explaining to Nas what an honor it is to be able to call him a friend.
Kehlani followed, sharing how thankful she was to be performing for such a significant occasion before she gave her most riveting performance yet. Singing a mixture of her hits, both old and new, the sultry singer received a standing ovation from all attendees.
And if all that wasn't fulfilling enough, Nas' daughter Destiny Jones surprised her father, who had no idea she was in attendance, with a enduring speech that included her reminiscing on their relationship and his many achievements.
Translation CEO, Steve Stoute made sure to recognize the fact that Nas never won a Grammy, insinuating that according to the honoree if he did it would have ruined everything.
"Nas used to always say, I do it for the people, the greatest artists never got a Grammy. Jimi Hendrix ain't got no Grammy. Bob Marley don't have no Grammy. Biggie didn't have no Grammy. Pac didn't have no Grammy. Nas, congratulations, you got no Grammy," Stoute jokingly stated.
Finally, REVOLT's Vice Chairman Andre Harrell introduced Chairman Sean "Diddy" Combs to the stage. And once he stepped to it, things became so lit, the power went out. However, that didn't stop Puff from continuing to deliver his honorary speech in his distinct projective tone. After vividly sharing memories ranging from when they first met to shooting the “Hate Me Now” video, Combs went on to speak about Nas' album achievements and his commitment to various communities, noting the Nasir Jones Hip-Hop Fellowship at Harvard University.
Diddy next presented Nas with the Jimmy Iovine Icon Award and the moment everyone waited for had finally arrived: Nas graced the stage to humbly accept.
"I'm honored beyond words and just honored to be here with you guys who started this REVOLT thing, which means rise up, which means change, which means rebel. I mean, I think it's God's plan and only befitting that I should receive a REVOLT award," said the icon.
Nas went on to pay his own tributes, mentioning Nat Turner, Denmark Vesey, and every solider who ever fought for freedom for all people, signifying that REVOLT is the appropriate name for all he stands for.
Now that his family, friends, and colleagues have expressed gratitude; what do you thank Nas for?