The Day I Saw Nas
You need to understand that for my friends and I seeing Nas in concert was pure gold. I mean After Biggie and Tupac we have Nas & Jay Z, some would say. I leaned more on the Tupac & Nas side loving every lyrical style he would through out. I remember being in University getting a masterclass from my brother Hassan aka Sass who was acting out the lyrics to Nas's classic "Rewind" track,- "Bullet goes back in gun". Scene by scene, lyric by lyric we would go over Nas's songs & rap along to the pure artistry that is Nas's ability to tell a story, educate and spit the real, as we say.
Michelle messages me telling me she's got us tickets to see Nas, yes NAS in concert. We que up at XOYO and as we go in one by one I'm almost certain they are going to say that Nas can't make it! we get in and I look around realising I have my camera with me. Meesh looks at me and gives me a smile knowing that this is it, an opportunity to capture Nas. We stood at the the back of the room on an elevated platform so that we could see with out phones getting in the way of our view.
That night Nas took us on a journey & allowed us to get a tase of Nasty Nas, Nostradamus Nas, Malcom X Nas & Lost Tapes Nas, we got it all & even better I was able to capture it, Being an avid Nas fan for so many years I was able to capture a man that I had admired for so long lyrically & musically Nas's albums, from Gods Son to Lost Tapes at that time was musical history & one that should never be forgotten. Most popularly for commercial fans "I Can" was a genius debut to a wider audience to understand and appreciate the talent that is Nas. Like many more before him, he spoke to Us, his people through music and rhymes.
The day I photographed Nas will go down as one of my favourite photography experience to date. The shots you see were taken out of sheer determination and what I like to call guerrilla photography. Before building the confidence I have today I looked at my Writer friend Michelle and she looked at me with that knowing look, she then said, "Go for it". With that I climbed down from the platform & in my typical nature kept shouting 'excuse me, sorry, pardon me, excuse me please." This guys grabs me and screams " Girl that's no way to get through, this is a RAP CONCERT girl, you gotta push" with that he shoved me forward & after awkwardly apologising I get to the front & realise Ive made it, I can actually get some close up shots of Nas.
From there I allowed the flood of nostalgia and lyrical vibes to control my click (of the camera). Being a lover of his music I was able to capture the passion felt from him, the crowd and all round experience.
In a way this is my Sanaa Lathan moment in Brown Sugar where she rights about when she fell in love with Hip Hop. For me with photography I think the day I captured Nas, I knew this is what I was meant to do & the gift to be able to capture emotion & humanity as is, in a moment is one I'm grateful for.