To pay tribute to the artists that came before him, prolific rapper Nas penned an open letter in conjunction with Google for its Black History Month series. In the video, the veteran Queens MC honors historical Black artists that have become essential to the growth and legacy of the Black community, paying respects to the likes of jazz legend Louis Armstrong and veteran rapper Slick Rick.
In the video, Nas speaks on his upbringing with his musical parents, which includes his jazz musician father, Olu Dara, as well as the environment around him contributing to his knowledge of Black music’s history. Nas states:
“I would realize that the education I received from my parents and my own travels that Robert Johnson, Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan and Slick Rick were one in the same. Native storytellers who shined a light on our purpose, preserved our legacy, and without question, rocked the house.
Black culture was an everyday thing in our household and in the streets that flowed through the great maze of our beloved Queensbridge: the housing projects that taught me and my comrades a plethora of lessons that were harsh, harrowing and humble.”
Read Nas’ full letter here and watch the rapper recite an excerpt from “We Continue To Rise” in the video above.