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Nas proves that legends never die during Time Is Illmatic Tour in Vancouver [Review]

Vancouver, BC – “Time Is Illmatic, keep static like wool fabric” – it’s hard to believe that a 20 year old Nas wrote one of the most prolific rap songs of our time, “Life’s A Bitch” from the 1994 released album, Illmatic. 20 years later, the anniversary of the classic album has Nas celebrating with the release and tour of his documentary Time Is Illmatic where he also performs Illmatic in it’s entirety.

There are few, if any, emcees that can ride the fame wave of their debut album for a solid two decades. Nas is a king in his trade and when he stepped foot into the city of Vancouver, the proof that a classic never dies was in the back-to-back sold-out shows at The Vogue Theatre.

Nas performs Illmatic on Time Is Illmatic Tour in Vancouver [Review] -HipHopCanada

An interesting set up had a showing of the documentary followed by a front to back performance of Illmatic. Vancouver was first brought back to the early nineties where Time Is Illmatic director One9 takes the viewer on a journey through a young Nas’ neighborhood in Queensbridge, New York. Even as a young man, Nas was ahead of his time. Time Is Illmatic shows the visionary emcee breaking down tracks like “Life’s a Bitch”, explaining the social issues that come with being a black male in the projects of America. The film hears memories from his family and friends, photos of the ‘hood and stories from Illmatic collaborators such as Pete Rock, DJ Premier, Large Professor and Q-Tip. The film highlights Nas’ struggle in losing friends to the streets, his passion and motivation to succeed as an artist and his fight against becoming a statistic while watching his peers fall victim to crime and violence in the projects.

During his performance, hearing The Don spit tracks like “The World Is Yours” after watching him break down the Pete Rock assisted and produced cut (he sang the hook) was worthy of goosebumps. Running through every single Illmatic favourite was enough to bring a warm nostalgia to any audience member who grew up with the album on repeat. The crowd religiously sang every lyric like they were attending hip-hop church while Nas remained as collected as ever expressing his love and gratitude to Vancity.

Watching a legend like Nas perform every track from the archive of his best album was more than enough to suffice but encores that included tracks like “Made You Look” and “One Mic” set the energy to a higher level. For those who had a chance to bear witness to the illustrious emcee, it was an evening to remember.  A masterpiece performed by one of our generation’s most renowned street poets, from “The Genesis” to “It Ain’t Hard To Tell” Illmatic has depth and lyrical substance to withstand the test of time.

Written by KassKills for HipHopCanada

Photo provided by Deejay Physik’s (@DJPhysik) iPhone

Twitter: @Nas

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Kassandra has her hands in several cookie jars. Born in Ontario but raised on the West coast, she is currently located in the wonderfully diverse East side of Vancouver. With a passion for all things creative KassKills is a hair stylist by day and HipHopCanada's West Coast Regional Editor by night. Music and public relations are her true passions and although she didn't inherit the talent of her musician father she makes her mark on the industry through other avenues. By night you can catch KassKills at almost every Vancity hip-hop show, shaking hands and snapping photos while covering and supporting the local music scene. On top of that she works closely with one of the cities most reputable concert promotors, Timbre Concerts. Kass is a hustler by nature and works hard to play a key role Vancity's hip-hop scene. Over the years she has seen, photographed and interviewed many of hip-hop's top artists such as T.I, Raekwon, Sheek Louch, Noreaga, Black Milk, Waka Flocka, Ab-Soul & Dizaster.

  1. Jordan

    Absolutely amazing set. Second time I’ve watched this performance in a couple months and I would pay to see it again next month.

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