Almost 20 years after his first album Illmatic catapulted him to eternal hip-hop glory, Nas will perform at Cornell on Nov. 10 in Barton Hall, according to an upcoming announcement by the Cornell Concert Commission.
Nas — whose full name is Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones — is one of the undisputed legends of the early 1990s New York City hip-hop scene that also produced The Notorious B.I.G., Jay Z and the Wu Tang Clan.
Released in 1994, Nas’ Illmatic has been hailed as a tour de force that exposes the brutal cycles of poverty and crime in inner-city America. A native of the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City, Queens, Nas dropped out of school in the ninth grade, and his rap mentor and neighbor was murdered by a gunman when he was young.
Still, Nas’ songs have been praised as widely accessible, and some may even directly relate to Cornell students.
“I never sleep, because sleep is the cousin of death,” goes the refrain in Nas’ “N.Y. State of Mind.”
Additionally, if his lyrics are any indication, Nas is hardly a stranger to the collegiate experience.
“Word to Marcus Garvey I hardly sparked it/Cause when I blast the herb, that’s my word/I be slayin them fast, doing this that and the third,” Nas sings in “Halftime,” one of the most popular tracks on Illmatic. “But chill, past to Andre, and let’s slay/I bag bitches up at John Jay, and hit a matinee.”