Review: Nas celebrates nostalgia at Auckland's Powerstation
It's unclear whether the demographic for rap has changed or if we were just wrong about it all the time.
At Nas's Auckland show, a sellout crowd turned up and was actually refreshingly diverse and pleasant.
Gone are the days where you would walk into a show for one of rap's most acclaimed originals, and find yourself surrounded by surly head-nodding gangsters.
The two men in front of me regularly made sure I was okay and could see properly, some guys started a dance battle just feet ahead of me and, rather than get annoyed at the pushing and shoving, those in the vicinity cheered them on instead.
The Powerstation holds the heat and people were packed in and sweltering. Half an hour after the audience was promised the act would be on, they were restless.
But the second Nas took the stage, hands rose into the air and bounced up and down as one, voices raised to sing along as the mic pointed our way, and the crowd united for a legend.
Despite never getting as much radio or mainstream time as his contemporaries, Nas is widely regarded as one of the greatest rappers in the world.
This show was testament to that.
Everyone knew every single word.
Every now and again, Nas would hold the mic towards the crowd to fill in specific parts of songs, but in truth, he could've kept it aimed our way and still not skip a beat.
These songs are ingrained in people.
And as he moved through hits like NY State of Mind, Life's a b**** and The World is Yours, the crowd reacted to each new song as though he was telling their favourite story.
The whole time we were on a trip down memory lane, paying homage to Run DMC, Tribe Called Quest and other influences, reminiscing about cassette tapes and then having a singalong to Memory Lane itself, in a way that showed Nas in a new light.
A similar nostalgic trip happened when he played Coachella early last year, in which he ended up sounding terribly self congratulatory and smug.
Last night, it was clear that's not the case. Nas has always made clear his love for his early work as it stood in that golden era of hip hop in the early 90s, and as the genre stood then.
So when he said things like, "y'all are taking me back, it's beautiful", and "places like this is where it started for me", it was genuine and heartfelt.
And songs like Represent, One Love, and It Ain't Hard to Tell evoked the same nostalgia in the crowd within the first few bass beats of each one.
Towards the end of the show, Nas played favourites like If I Ruled the World, Braveheart and One Mic, all the while expressing his gratitude for everyone turning up and for their ongoing support, and he left the stage with a "peace out".
As far as performance and set list go, it was definitely one for the long time fans. It was based on nostalgia and in all honesty, Nas did little more than move a few steps either side of centre stage.
But in saying that, he never once slipped up, lost breath or time, or seemed to tire, and left the crowd in utter awe.
After more than twenty years in the game, that's more than a bit impressive.