Nas Spits A Mini-Version Of "NY State of Mind" Live At the NBA All Star Game
Before Russel Westbrook went on an absurd 41 point tear and brought the Western Conference to victory, Nas dropped by the NBA All Star game to help cover its opening ceremony duties alongside Christina Aguilera. On a massive stage that turned Madison Square Garden's basketball court into a proper music venue (it's almost like they put on regular concerts in that building!) Nas ran through a truncated performance of his Illmatic opener "NY State of Mind" as visuals of moving subways lit the screens over his shoulder.
One viewing of the clip, though, brings about nothing but questions--why was Nas, a hometown favorite and more than half-amazing hip-hop legend only given about a minute to spit the first verse of "NY State of Mind"--a verse, we should note, that's loaded with references to drugs and guns and had to endure a heavy editing session by Nas as he rapped to the garden crowd. After mushing a few choice words in the opening bars, Mr. Jones brags " In Pain / I'm like Scarface sipping champagne"...really though? It's almost as if NBA producers demanded Nas perform his "most New York" track, just to remind the masses that the game, was in fact, being held in NYC. Hearing the song live backed by a large brass ensemble sure is interesting (and honestly worth your viewing time, end of discussion), but here's hoping the next time get some primetime TV Nas the Queensbridge MC gets a chance to stretch out wider and really do his thing.
Then again, no dis to Ms. Aguilera--she sounds fantastic, as always. Watch the entire performance below, in which Nas appears at approximately 4:10.