Nas @ Under The Bridge [The Music Journalist Review]

When you’re one of the most highly regarded artists in hip hop history, there’s not much stopping you from travelling the world, picking up your cheques along the way, and performing in Stadiums which accommodate your bursting fan base. However, that didn’t stop Nas from heading down to Chelsea’s intimate Under The Bridge venue to perform to a crowd of no more than 600 people – not in the slightest…

Located on the grounds of Stamford Bridge, ‘Under The Bridge’ is the perfect setting for a night of live hip hop, with every angle of the venue offering a more than reasonable view of the stage, regardless of where you find yourself in the crowd. With only a relatively small number of people in attendance (due to the size of the venue), the audience was treated to an ultra rare, close-up glimpse of one of the most venemous MCs to ever the touch mic.

Nas took to the stage with the legendary DJ Green Lantern to perform a set filled with both modern day, and old-school classics, from NY State of Mind, If I Ruled The World and The World Is Yours, to Life Is Good favourites; Bye Baby, The Don and Stay — it’s safe to say the Queensbridge MC had faith in his supporter’s knowledge of his work – something which many artists can rarely be so sure of when crossing the pond. That being said, with such a hungry audience – and only an hour and thirty minutes on stage – it was never going to be easy to try and squeeze in everyone’s favourite Nas cut.

A track which wasn’t performed, to the disappointment of some in the crowd, was the artist’s legendary Jay-Z diss, Ether. After an audience member called out the name of the track, Nas had to settle the crowd down slightly to let them know it wasn’t that time. Nonetheless, there was barely a gem left unperformed by the end of the night.

Nas continued to interact with the crowd throughout his performance, touching on his relationship with the late Amy Winehouse and revealing that the video for his new single, Cherry Wine –which features Amy — will be released Today (October 2nd). He also alluded to his ex-wife, Kelis at one point – whilst performing the heartfelt, Bye Baby, he admitted; “I text her the other night, y’all.” “That sh*t’s real.”

Despite scheduled support act, Devlin, being a no-show, the event was most certainly a night to remember. At a stage in his career when he needn’t step out of his comfort zone — either musically or to perform at smaller capacity shows — the fact that Nas still has the passion, heart and energy to perform tracks which were penned decades ago is truly outstanding. His presence on stage is still as apparent as ever, and his love of the craft irrefutably undeniable.

Reviewed by Ash Houghton