Hip hop legends Nas and Lauryn Hill brought the Fox Theater to life on Monday night. An invisible force pulled the eager crowd towards the stage, squeezing them tightly together. As the lights dimmed, fans had no idea what they were in store for: two of the greatest 90’s hip hop acts coming back to shine.
Nas took control of the stage first with a burst of powerful energy. The once still sea of bodies were awakened by his strong lyrical voice. Human waves filled the room as people threw up their hands, surrendering to Nas’ encompassing aura. He performed tracks from his new album Life is Good, including “Cherry Wine,” a song featuring the late Amy Winehouse. Before performing the song, Nas raised a glass of wine and dedicated the song to her. He did not fail to treat the crowd to his early material, including gems from his 1994 record Illmatic, reminding his fans of his status. The theater was filled was such a strong presence, not only from the artists, but the 80’s generation crowd with their endless cocktails and herbal aromas.
After an extended intermission, the lovely Ms. Lauryn Hill made her way to center stage. As the lights glimmered down onto her, she transformed into a goddess. Her deep voice crept from under everyone’s feet and traveled up through the spine sending a euphoric rush through our minds. Leaning away from her hip hop past and towards a reggae, a-cappella jazz mix of her classics. Hence, fans who came to hear that familiar artist were surely caught off guard. Her voice stayed fresh but it appeared to some that it was a different Lauryn Hill that was performing. Nevertheless, her fans were happier than ever to see Lauryn–even if she had changed up her style. Hill opened the night with a dub reggae version of “Killing Me Softly”–allowing the music to take the spotlight instead of her soulful voice. Later in her set, she reminded fans that she’s still the same Lauryn Hill by nailing her original cover of the song.
The definite highlight of the evening was when Nas joined Lauryn on stage for a legendary performance of “If I Ruled the World.” The crowd lifted their hands in ecstasy as the two graced the stage. Lauryn felt the love and expressed her appreciation. She gave herself so generously to her fans on Monday, showing them another side of herself (contrary to recent press). The night slipped away with a flash and all that was left was her voice singing, “I love them, love them baby…black diamonds and pearls…If I ruled the world.”