April 4, 2022

Nas returned to the Grammys stage on Sunday night (April 3) almost exactly a year after earning his first Grammy award for 2020’s King’s Disease, where his storied career justifiably basked in the spotlight.

In a double-breasted suit, the Queensbridge rap icon made his first solo Grammys appearance by performing a medley of career-spanning favourites with the accompaniment of a live band that included jazz pianist Robert Glasper.

After being introduced by Grammys host Trevor Noah as “your favourite rappers’ favourite rapper,” Nas began with “I Can” before moving on to “Made You Look” and “One Mic” – appropriate song choices given God’s Son’s 20th anniversary this December.

The 48-year-old MC closed up his victory lap with an emphatic rendition of “Rare,” taken from last year’s King’s Disease II, as a shot of an Illmatic-era Nasir Jones filled the large screen behind him.

Nas’ performance garnered a standing ovation from inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, with the likes of Jack Harlow, Lil Nas X, and J Balvin clapping on their feet, despite the Recording Academy’s history of snubbing his work.

Nas was nominated for two Grammys this year, with his King’s Disease II album up for Best Rap Album and his “Bath Salts” collaboration with the late DMX and JAY-Z up for Best Rap Song.

Esco eventually lost in both categories, with Tyler, The Creator’s CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST winning Best Rap Album and Kanye West and JAY-“Jail” Z’s winning Best Rap Song.

But it would be false to suggest Nas went home empty-handed after reminding the millions of viewers who tuned in to Sunday’s Grammys broadcast of his respected lyricism, sophisticated stage presence, and still-thriving repertoire.

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