The Nas/Lauryn Hill concert aka the Powernomics Tour at Bayfront park was Epic!
I miss that era of dope music, live emcees, the hip-hop conscious culture, and the tight album production. So for me it’s nostalgic to see such performances, and it’s rare to see Nas rock a live show, so I really went to see him and he did not disappoint. He is definitely in my Top 5 emcees, still under-rated in my opinion, and Illmatic is still one of the best hip-hop albums ever, produced by some of the best hip-hop producers; Large Professor (of Main Source) DJ Premier (of Gang Starr), Pete Rock, Q-Tip, and L.E.S. Nas brought the energy, the excitement, to the stage, and when he performed It Aint Hard to Tell and Braveheart the audience went will! We were dancing, shouting the lyrics, the hook, and the energy level with up a few wave lengths. I was dancing, recording, taking pics, reciting lyrics and sweating up a storm, but ever so grateful it didn’t rain, I had a great seat and view, and no one in front of me was blocking me, or was rude, or smelled bad so it was all good. I ran into my hip hop comrades at the concert and we greeted each other with solidarity like we had been given passes to an exclusive meet up that only the privileged and cool people knew about. LOL! What I really love about Nas, is that he still really enjoys hitting the stage, rocking a mic to a crowd, he’s humble, and he’s handling his business. Outside of music, he is making money moves with business ventures, investing in startups, and helping young entrepreneurs. The Powernomics tour donates some proceeds to support education, health, agriculture, technology, and other initiatives that will help build businesses and equity within the black community. Proceeds from each show will reportedly be donated to 44 charities, including The Harvest Institute, Yes We Code, Equal Justice Initiative and the International Peace Initiative. Now that’s dope and makes me feel better about the expensive ticket prices. Nas is like Future Bae in my head. LOL I’m going in ignore the fact that he has been linked to Nicki Minaj, but I really think that’s a Queens link, and a publicity ploy brewed up by their people. But I digress, let get back to the show, I loved his tribute to Michael Jackson, as he flashed the pic of a young adolescent MJ from the Jackson Five with the larger than life afro. How cool was it for MJ to clear the sample to Human Nature, for the signature song from Illmatic, called It ain’t Hard to Tell. I use to have that song on repeat mode in college, blowing my little Honda civic speakers out. Nas said, “MJ didn’t know who I was, I was a nobody, and he liked the song and cleared the sample for my record label. “ That’s just dope, period! The sample helped put that song on the map! When Lauryn Hill hit the stage I was like, I wonder what we’re going to get this time, cause she is known for some awkward behavior, and extreme tardiness, but I guess Nas was like “Yo L Boogie if we do this tour together we gotta come correct.” Lauryn remixed most of her hits and it sounded tight. I loved when she would perform a Fugee song, and she would rap all the verses of Wyclef and Pras, that just made me laugh. Let’s not forget she’s a dope emcee as well as a powerful lyricist, she’s just a n all around powerhouse. Clearly she’s battled her own demons publicly and privately and that still shows up on stage performance. She actually gave me anxiety because she kept signaling to her band, and sound techs to adjust her sound, and all her mean mugging looks and sharp harsh hand gestures, were distracting and took away from the performance. I actually thought the band was on point, her backup singers were phenomenal, and maybe the sound could have been sharper, better, and a little louder in her ear monitor, but the show must go on. As a professional you keep the show going and never let them see you sweat. You’re not suppose to display to the audience that you’re struggling on stage or uncomfortable. I really thought at one point she would be like “Yo stop the music, because we got get this sound right,” but I think experience has taught her not to do that, and so the show went on and the band really seemed unbothered. They are probably use to her antics by now. If her Hype man paid more attention, he would have caught all her signals and walked over to the sound tech to instruct him to fix it. However, regardless Lauryn Hill is just multi-talented, she barely cracks a smile but she is resilient and a force to be reckoned with, regardless of the crazy chic bag lady outfit, which my sis told me is part of her religious beliefs to wear very modest loose fitting clothing, and hats to cover her hair. She really is the modern day Nina Simone, socially consciousness, misunderstood, shunned by the music industry, and a musical genius tortu
red soul! But who am I to judge, I just wanted to experience a great hip hop concert and temporarily forget my own struggles. I tend to over analyze almost everything. I will say I can’t wait for the day Lauryn comes out with an autobiography and a biopic. I hope that happens under her control if she’ll allow it. I am a Fugees/Misdeducation of Lauryn Hill/Nas/Illmatic Fan 4 Life! What a show! They don’t make music like that anymore! I know I sound old, but it’s true!
(Sidenote: Research Powernomics & Dr. Claud Anderson)