When your debut album is as legendary as Nas’ Illmatic, it is only right to celebrate its decades-long influence on the culture where all the magic happens – Disney Land!
Nas celebrated the 28th anniversary of his critically acclaimed debut album alongside a full orchestra at Walt Disney Concert Hall this past Sunday (May 1). Released on April 19, 1994 Illmatic includes hits like “One Love,” N.Y. State of Mind,” and “The World Is Yours.”
“When I made Illmatic, I was trying to make the perfect album,” the “If I Ruled The World (Imagine That)” emcee previously said of his debut project. “It comes from the days of ‘Wild Style.’ I was trying to make you experience my life. I wanted you to look at hip-hop differently. I wanted you to feel that hip-hop was changing and becoming something more real.”
Talk about a mission accomplished. During Sunday’s show, Nas was joined by Gustavo and the L.A. Philharmonic orchestra and performed the classic album from front to back in front of hundreds of concertgoers. He was also joined onstage by his very own DJ and a three-piece band.
Dubbed as one of the greatest albums of all time, Illmatic holds a special place in the history of hip-hop and continues to receive its accolades. Earlier this year, when the New York legend received his first-ever Grammy for his 2020 album, King’s Diseases, the audience witnessed him perform a medley of the iconic album. Fans immediately took to social media to both share praise for the performance but to also admit that the moment was well overdue.
As a lover of the arts, the Disney performance is not the “One Mic” lyricist’s first time performing the album alongside an orchestra. In 2014 he celebrated 20 years of the album with the National Symphony Orchestra at Washington D.C.’s Kennedy Center. It was later shared on PBS as a part of the network’s “Great Performance” series just four years later in 2018.