Detroit Pistons are bringing together Nas and Detroit Symphony Orchestra to perform 'Illmatic'


Rapper Nas has been nominated for 13 Grammy awards. - JAMIE LAMOR THOMPSON/SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Jamie Lamor Thompson/Shutterstock
  • Rapper Nas has been nominated for 13 Grammy awards.

When rap and classical music collide, it can go one of two ways. Detroit will get a front-row seat as Nas teams up with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for a classical rendition of the rapper’s legendary album, Illmatic.

To cap off their Black History Month celebrations, the Detroit Pistons announced today they will bring the legendary, 13-time Grammy Award nominee Nas back to Detroit to perform at Orchestra Hall on March 5. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra will join the hip hop legend to add a classical twist to the watershed East Coast rap album.

Since the debut of Illmatic in 1994, Nas has hardly slowed down. With 11 albums in the Billboard Top 10, and a cluster of public clashes with Jay-Z, Nas has long been a figure in the music spotlight. In 2015, Nas was also recognized academically as a recipient of Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Medal for his contributions "to African-American culture and the life of the mind."

At the 20th anniversary of the Illmatic in 2014, Nas partnered with the National Symphony Orchestra for a similar concert at the Kennedy Center in D.C.

“Music is music,” Nas told NPR in 2018. “There's no barriers, really, with music. I look at that as old hip-hop from centuries ago. It was the hip-hop of its day.”

Proceeds from the event will support the Detroit Pistons’ partnership with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Detroit-based Sphinx Organization, which identifies and nurtures talented musicians of color while making classical music accessible and relatable to diverse audiences.

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on Saturday, January 26.

Will Feuer is an editorial intern for Metro Times.

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