Nas has been a restless voice in hip-hop since the early '90s. His debut record "Illmatic" came out in 1994 and it remains a defining statement of East Coast hip-hop. He had a line: "the rap game reminds me of the crack game."
A little over 10 years later, Nas released "Hip-Hop Is Dead." With rapping that stood out, and still stands out, as literate and fluid, Nas was ahead of his time, representing a version of hip-hop that signaled a wide-ranging ambition. He captured an ominous feeling — something similar to a punk nihilism —a sense of uncertainty about the future. He made rebel music filled with rage. Nas, who moved to L.A. in the late '90s, depicted Queens to a whole world of listeners. He's conveyed the complexity and richness of life in the projects and of the global reach of hip-hop. He's said that hip-hop took him all over the world, places he never even wanted to go, places he never dreamed of going to.
Nas performs at The Dome @ Toyota Presents Oakdale Theater, 95 S. Turnpike Road, Wallingford, on Saturday, Sept. 16, at 9 p.m. $45. 203-265-1501, livenation.com.