Venue: Bath and West showground
Though there were still sets to come from Electronic giants DJ Hazard and Benga, all Hip-Hop fans in the premises of this Somerset festival knew that the climax of Nass 2013 had arrived. With the glowing ‘Nas‘ sign sitting beside the customary ‘Nass‘ banner above the stage, I asked myself whether the familiarity of the festival’s name played its part in luring the Queens legend across the Atlantic to play the event.
Don’t get me wrong, Nass festival attracts artists of real prestige; but usually ones from the electronic scene, and the festival’s general attraction to electronic fans was apparent in the size and atmosphere of the crowd. My expectations for the set were undoubtedly heightened by the fact that I had watched him just a few weeks before at Glastonbury, where I was unable to move an inch; being crammed in the middle of a huge crowd hanging on his every word.
Comparably muted, less enthused crowd aside though, Nas‘ set packed a punch just as heavy as that thrown at Glasto; playing a hit-filled set including all the massive tracks you’d expect from the Hip-Hop heavyweight. With a pleasing amount of tracks from his seminal LP Illmatic and a healthy selection of material from the rest of his discography, the set was a big pleaser.
When performing ‘One Love,‘ DJ Green Lantern slipped into Bob Marley’s classic of the same name, igniting the possibility in my mind that his son Damian could jump on stage for a couple of ‘Distant Relatives‘ tracks. My optimistic hope squashed, Nas flipped straight on to the next track: ‘Hip hop is dead.’ This one really getting the crowd bumping, with Nas repeatedly asking the question “is Hip-hop alive?” the crowd yelling “yes!” in reply.
Whilst I felt that a more Hip-hop following crowd would have added to the atmosphere of the set, Nas showed no sign of letting it retract from his energy; the true Hip-hop icon displaying the charisma and raw talent that has attracted countless worshippers for almost twenty years.