One Love

Illmatic: Nas in Philly. Photo by Leon Laing.

“It went from ‘Life’s a Bitch’ to ‘Life is Good,’” Nas said, reflecting on his successful 21-year tenure in hip-hop.

The Queens, NY, -based ghetto griot/actor headlined Heineken’s Red Access concert on Oct. 13. Esco came on stage at Philadelphia’s Electric Factory with his usual reserved but swagged-out persona. His performance for “Bye Baby” was introspective and celebratory. “I’m single as muthafucka,” Esco affirmed. He went from addressing his marriage with ex-wifey Kelis to embracing fatherhood with his daughter Destiny on “Daughters.”

Memory Lane
A Nas show wouldn’t be complete without performances for his classic throwbacks. The crowd went into a frenzy during gems such as “Represent” and “Made You Look.” Before Esco stepped on stage, Q-Tip spun on the 1s and the 2s. Nas gave a solo performance for “One Love,” but it would’ve been ill to see Nas and Tip rock that song together. As soon as “Nas is Like,” blasted from the speakers, I gave dap to comedian Affion Crockett to signify my appreciation for the song. “That’s the one!” replied Crockett who hosted the concert. Nowadays, Nas, a Rakim protégé, inspires new-school artists such as Joey Bada$$.

Tip, former lead lyricist of A Tribe Called Quest/actor/producer/DJ/record collector, played some new joints and classics from his heyday including ATCQ’s “Bonita Applebum” and Leader of the New School’s “Case of the P.T.A.” Wale, who kicked off the concert, brought out surprise guest Freeway from Philly.

See below for more pics.

Nas. Photo by Leon Laing.

Q-Tip. Photo by Leon Laing.


Wale. Photo by Leon Laing.

Freeway. Photo by Leon Laing.

2 Responses to “One Love”

  1. 1 J. BAIR November 6, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Great piece. Wish I was there.

  2. 2 vigoronline November 25, 2012 at 1:15 am

    Thanks Bair. It was surreal covering Nas and Tip. Their music helped to define 90s hip-hop.

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