August 29, 2016 Nas Rules The Emporium Patchogue, NY 8-12-16
As one of the most prolific lyricists and storytellers in the history of Hip Hop, New York City’s Nas has spent the last twenty-two years or so since his 1994 breakout debut album, Illmatic, wrestling between the mainstream and the underground Hip Hop scene. In a sense, over the course of ten studio albums since, he has almost perfected the balance between the two worlds. From his breakout crossover 1997 hit “If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)” where he exhibited that he was capable of pleasing both crowds, and his last album, 2012’s Life Is Good, Nas walked that line with near perfect execution.
Keeping himself busy in recent years, Nas embarked on his 20th anniversary Illmatic tour in 2014, made various appearances at festivals in 2015, and has performed at scattered shows throughout 2016. According to his latest song on the DJ Khaled compilation Major Key, it seems that Nas’ latest album is completed, giving fans a glimpse at what to expect from his first full-length LP in four years. That being said, Nas made a special trip out to Patchogue village on Friday, August 12th, to treat The Emporium to a rare Long Island appearance and perhaps some new music.
To say The Emporium crowd was diverse would be an understatement. People from all walks of life could be found patently awaiting the arrival of the self-proclaimed Gods Son. In the meantime, a pair of DJs entertained the crowd well, spinning an eclectic mix of classic Hip Hop and modern radio hits until New York City legend Funkmaster Flex took the stage around 1:30 AM. Playing many of the same songs, he pumped up the crowd with his trademark flex-isms. Still very active, Funk Flex seems to spin at quite a few live shows in and around the Long Island area, so be sure to look out for his return soon.
Now completely jam-packed with eager spectators, Nas finally took to The Emporium stage at around 2 AM as the anxious feelings erupted with excitement. From the moment he stepped on the stage, he commanded the attention of the entire building. Before getting into his short, but energetic set, he stood triumphantly before the crowd, seemingly absorbing all of the energy in the room. With Funkmaster Flex still behind the wheels of steel, Nas immediately connected with the crowd, stating, “I used to live in Coram, Long Island man, back in like ’93.” Receiving a roar of cheers from locals, he then went into his first song of the night, Illmatic’s “The World Is Yours.” Wasting no time, he quickly ran through some of his classic cuts including 2002’s “Made You Look,” 1999’s “Hate Me Now,” and 1994’s “N.Y. State of Mind.”
Overall, Nas controlled the crowd with precision, leaving them hanging on his every word and participating with rich enthusiasm. It was an almost magical moment in time, one that seemed to fly by a bit too fast. In fact, his set was seemingly cut short as Funk Flex dropped the instrumental for “Oochie Wally” with Nas pulled off stage as the crowd called for an encore. Alas, no new material was debuted at The Emporium, but that did not matter. What those in attendance were given was a brief, but energetic set from one of Hip Hop’s biggest and most consistent artists in an intimate setting. A rare delight for any Hip Hop fan, the long awaited album will hopefully drop sooner than later.