The screaming and cheering was deafening as rap star Nas stepped from the wings to perform briefly with the red-hot Fugees during the recent Smokin' Grooves concert at the Universal Amphitheatre.
Wearing a blue sweatsuit and a shining gold pendant, Nas reminded many in the crowd of the Golden Age of New York hip-hop, when rappers from Eric B. & Rakim to the Ultramagnetic MCs wore clothes tailored by the hip Harlem haberdashery Dapper Dan's.
Nas' potent mix of searing vocals and mind-bending imagery dazzles in ways reminiscent of Rakim. And Nas is selling more than Rakim ever did. His "It Was Written" album entered the U.S. sales chart at No. 1 in early July and has remained there since. Estimated sales to date: 826,000, according to SoundScan.