Thu 24 Jul 2014
PBS’ Finding Your Roots is back for its second season on September 23, and will be digging up the family roots of a whole host of celebrities including Derek Jeter, Anderson Cooper and Ben Affleck. The most notable guest, however, is Nas, who was the first hip-hop artist to be invited onto the series by host, Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Read more below…
The Queensbridge rapper’s experience wasn’t all rosy, though; according to Billboard, he spoke at a panel discussion yesterday and remembered seeing a documentation of an ancestor being sold as a slave in 1859. “First I was enraged when I looked at the bill of sale,” he said. “I was like, that guy that owned property owes me some cash. My people made him really wealthy, so maybe I should find his family and talk.”
Nas also comes across more artifacts from his ancestors’ slave history in the season two preview, including a portrait of their former owner. “This is the face my ancestors looked at everyday,” he pondered. “And now I’m looking into their world.”
Watch the season two preview of Finding Your Roots below.
BONUS: Check out the best quotes from Nas’ new interview with Complex, in which he gives advice to Kendrick Lamar about how to handle the sophomore jinx.
I was talking to Punch, who’s the President of TDE, and he said something really interesting. He said Kendrick is “shadowboxing” because it’s one thing to compete with other rappers, but really he’s at the point where he’s competing with himself. I feel like you have a similar situation because you’ve made so many great records, but it’s like how can you do it again?
Yeah. But I think he got it. I know he got it. There’s no way he can mess it up because the love he has from the game is so large that he can almost mumble on the record and it’s going to be in rhythm and it’s going to be next level. So he’s in a great place because, again, there’re so many single artists that the album artist just holds up as a whole different kind of value. And he’s that kind of guy. So whatever he does, in my opinion, will be appreciated but at the same time he knows he has to bring it. It’s about challenges, right? Life’s about challenges. In this game it’s about challenges.
When I was talking to the TDE guys they were kind of making this comparison between Illmatic and good kid. Do you think that’s a fair comparison?
No, it’s not a fair comparison to me because Illmatic represented a different time and a different expression for different reasons. The times inspired the sound of that—the climate of the music business, the rap game, the industry, the year, and life in itself. It’s not fair to Kendrick’s album either because his album is a brand new expression that represents these times, the sound represents what’s happening now, he’s changing things today.
What advice would you give to Kendrick about following up a classic?
It’s super important, but don’t let that get in the way of creating. Don’t. It’s like, “Yo, you know you’re like one of the most important guys out here in the world, now go make an album,” That’s a lot of pressure to have, but so what? Just say to yourself, “So what? Yeah, I’m that dude. I got music to make.”
You’ll never be bigger than hip-hop. I wanna be big but I’ll never be bigger than hip-hop. If I become bigger than hip-hop, then I’m Madonna, I’m a diva. I know plenty divas in this shit, new artists and old. Rap Divas. But none of us is bigger than hip-hop and none of us will ever be.