After bringing Illmatic to PBS, Nas celebrates Black History Month through music. The iconic New York MC pays tribute to the luminaries who came before him in a moving video for Google Arts & Culture.
“I was raised to understand that every month was Black History Month,” he explained in the clip, “that every day, my ancestors, contemporaries, and dreamers like myself, can, shall, and continue to make history.”
He went on to celebrate iconic stars who’ve made an impact on his life. “I would realize—through the education I received from my parents and my own travels—that Robert Johnson, Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan and Slick Rick were one in the same,” he added. “Native storytellers who shined a light on our purpose, preserved our legacy and, without question, rocked the house.”
After urging fans to listen to some of the influential legends that he referenced, Nas explained how Black History Month will continue to show excellence prevail. “We are here. From the beginning. For forever,” he said. “From science labs to spaceships, from jazz riffs to higher consciousness, we continue to rise.”
Nas, who recently performed his seminal debut Illmatic at the Kennedy Center, is prepping the long-awaited follow-up to 2012’s Life Is Good, which is expected to arrive this year.