On May 17, 2014 the state of Maryland hosted the annual Preakness races. Truthfully, I didn’t even know what Preakness was until a few years ago. For those of you who aren’t aware, it is the second largest horse racing event in America following the prestigious Kentucky Derby. However I wasn’t there to place bets on horses. My sole reason for attending this event was for the Nas concert taking place at the main stage.
Nasir Jones was scheduled to begin his set at [1:30]p. At [11:00]a I advised my fiancé and my sister that we head over to the main stage around noon to secure a good viewpoint. Unfortunately, they were caught in the excitement of the races and felt my suggestion was ridiculous. By their rationale, we could still secure a good position if we headed over around [1:00]p. After a brief argument that was clearly one-sided, I acquiesced and agreed to watch them lose their money on horse racing. Besides, when was the last time a hip hop show ever started on time? And who here at Preakness besides us and a handful of others care about a live Nas performance? I’ll just hang back awhile and have a drink or two.
Around [1:20]p, we started making our way toward the stage. Needless to say, I was quite faded off the complimentary draft beers I consumed during the hours preceding the show. As we got closer to the main stage area there was already a huge crowd forming. My fiancé and sister were perplexed but I wasn’t. I forewarned them about this earlier…way earlier. We ended up somewhere in the middle of a 2000+ audience, maybe 250 ft. from the stage. I was miffed because our view was not that great and the muddy field completely fucked up my dunks.
Nas finally hit the stage at [1:45]p. He was adorned in all black apparel and a fat gold chain. Queens was in this motherfucker! In celebration of the 20th anniversary of Illmatic, Nas performed most of that album in its entirety. He began the set with “N.Y. State of Mind” and I went crazy! I was screaming out my favorite lines from both verses. He followed that with “Life’s A Bitch”, “The World Is Yours” and “Halftime.”
Although Nas was giving an amazing performance, the audience was not as responsive as I thought they would/should have been. Many of them weren’t familiar with Illmatic and that was disappointing. When Nas performed “I Can” and “Nas Is Like” there were slightly bigger reactions from the crowd, but not much. The last songs he performed from Illmatic were “One Love”, “Represent” and “It Aint Hard To Tell.” After this, he performed various hits from his other albums.
Overall, Nas put on a great show. Unfortunately, the crowd was full of lames. It was beyond obvious they were not real fans of the Queensbridge legend. They were just there for a free show. Nas couldn’t even really be himself. He refrained from using the term “Nigga” during the entire performance. Although his political correctness is commendable, I have a feeling it would have been an entirely different show had it taken place among a real Hip Hop audience.
Although I took photos/videos with my iPhone, I was in a bad view point. I did the best I could under the circumstances. Regardless of my complaints, Nas was spectacular. He’ll be touring throughout the remainder of 2014. If you’re able to see him live, I suggest you do so. He’s one of the last greats from that ’90s Golden Era still going hard.
Academic Letter Grade: A