NaS - "You Wouldn't Understand" f/ Victoria Monet Live On Arsenio Hall

Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Lion Babe, Thundercat, SZA & More Rock The Afropunk Festival 2015 in Brooklyn, NY.Nas x The Posse Live on Arsenio Hall

Nas knocks out a live performance of his wistful, melodic Life Is Good track "You Wouldn't Understand" as one of the very first guests on the newly-returned Arsenio Hall Show. Backed by baby-faced and baby-voiced diva Victoria Monet, Nas seems right at home in front of the Hollywood studio audience. Generally rated as genius in the mic booth and notoriously lackluster in many of his live shows, Nasir seems to strike exactly the right balance with this one; heartfelt but relaxed, never forcing the energy of what is after all an introspective and jazzy song. Hall's live band The Posse brings just the right dose of ye olde pimp shit for Nas to lace with his deceptively simple internal rhyme schemes and everyone involves seems to be genuinely feeling the celebratory mood of the track which, let's face it, is rare for a hip-hop show these days. Given the recent "Control" freakish-ness that's gripped the rap world--and the repeated Nas-baiting looking for an illmatic response to the challeng Kendrick threw down--we might reasonably have expected Nas to bring his ether game and be right in the L.A. audience's face on some "King Of New York / Yeah, I been that" --and since the expected is rarely as satisfying as the unexpected, it's nice to see don in chill mode. Watch below:

For his part, even if Arsenio shrewdly threw the younguns among us a frat-rap bone with the his selection of Mac Miller, with Ice Cube and Nas on the starter's bench and Magic Johnson on call for a victory lap (the olduns among us may recall Arsenio was the first interviewer Johnson called after being diagnosed with HIV back in the crazy 80s) Hall seems determined to make up for all legendary rap moments he missed the first time around. There might be a little more to it than that, however, for Cube and Nas have something else striking in common; both have called out Arsenio's name in their lyrics. Cube as a dis, Nas as namecheck, having notably rapped "Bring back Arsenio" on the Jay Electronica-assisted track "Queens Get The Money" from 2008. In the interview segment Arsenio explains how the lyric helped inspire his return to TV--almost as if to say "you made it a hot line, I made it a hot late night TV franchise." Watch: