Photo by Rachel Del Borrello
Photo by Rachel Del Borrello

Dusk/DJ Green Lantern
Metro City
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

It was a true gift to experience one of hip hop’s supreme advocates Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones aka NAS performing Illmatic, one of rap history’s most celebrated albums. The New York legend reminded a male-dominant, clammy Metro City crowd exactly how a classic album should be performed. His mastery of rap was evident, his stage presence composed and commanding. No hype man or gimmicks were required.

NAS eloquently delivered illmatic verse for verse, bar for bar as Australia Day hangovers started to subside and heads began bopping as he set his pace with classics N.Y State Of Mind, Life’s A Bitch and The World Is Yours. By this point the lower level was a sweaty mess of purist fans as the higher levels filled with late comers. NAS’s poetic flow was evident of 20 years’ experience conducting the album and at 41 years of age he still sounds as fresh as ever.

Despite the obvious heat the crowd behaviour was positive and engaged, signs of appreciation were evident as DJ Green Lantern chimed in for Q-Tip in One Love before hands went waving for Represent. As the album drew to a close NAS paused to reflect on Michael Jackson clearing the use of Human Nature for the hook on It Ain’t Hard To Tell. illmatic had been flawlessly executed so it was now time to have some fun – NAS reminded all present exactly what golden era hip hop was as he dished out classic after classic from his impressive catalogue.

Perth hasn’t and wont see a rap show like this for some time. The purity and simplicity of the performance really validates how much hip hop as an art form has transitioned over the past two decades. Only one bucket hat spotted.