In preparation for the deluxe, 20th anniversary reissue of Illmatic next week, Nas showed up to The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last night with Q-Tip in tow to perform two songs from the album. Below, watch the pair perform "One Love" and "The World Is Yours" while backed by The Roots.
Nas ft Q-Tip "One Love" on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon 4.7.2014:
Nas ft Q-Tip "The World Is Yours" on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon 4.7.2014:
This reuniting of two of NYC hip hop's biggest icons made for a truly great late night performance. Nas and Tip's chemistry was palpable, with the pair trading off lines easily and ad-libbing over instrumental passages, with Nas fittingly exclaiming, "This feels like the nineties!" at one point. The Roots' live instrumentation added more wrinkles to the decades-old songs, with "One Love" featuring a live kalimba for possibly the first time ever, and Owen Biddle's upright bass work recalling Ron Carter's work on A Tribe Called Quest's classic 1991 album, The Low End Theory. Though Nas has frequently performed the entirety of Illmatic with the venerable DJ Premier as his only accompaniment, last night's performance has us pining for a full recreation of the album with The Roots, who clearly have the ability to accurately recreate samples while keeping things interesting.