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Ms Lauryn Hill, Nas, Chappelle At Shoreline

In Culture, Music
ILLMATIC: Nas will join Ms Lauryn Hill, Hannibal Buress and Dave Chappelle at Shoreline Amphitheatre.

ILLMATIC: Nas will join Ms Lauryn Hill, Hannibal Buress and Dave Chappelle at Shoreline Amphitheatre.

In 1996, Nas dropped “If I Ruled The World (Imagine That),” a utopian vision, free of police harassment and racial injustice, with Ms. Lauryn Hill providing one of hip-hop’s all-time greatest hooks. The track would become the rapper’s first mainstream success, just as Hill was finding her first taste of international stardom with The Fugees.

More than 20 years later, the duo is partnering again with a vision to change the world—or at least an attempt to improve it—with the PowerNomics Tour. The outing takes its name from Dr. Claud Anderson’s book “PowerNomics: The National Plan To Empower Black America” and his steps for achieving educational, political and economic growth.

The aim of the tour is to “magnify the beauty of cultural amalgamation,” according to Hill, with performances from comedians Dave Chappelle, Hannibal Buress and roots reggae revivalist Chronixx. Each stop on the 17-date tour is also raising funds and providing exposure for a variety of charities and initiatives.

The Shoreline Amphitheatre date could hold extra weight for Nas, given the venue’s proximity to Google headquarters. The veteran rapper targeted the tech industry and its lack of diversity in a statement announcing the tour.

“We are here to lend a hand where it is needed and hopefully to inspire,” Nas said in a press release. “I’m a part of a mission to help build a more diverse tech industry and to encourage my people to see beyond what they believe is in their reach.”

And Nas isn’t fronting when he calls out tech. The rapper, who was unavailable for further comment, is a founding partner of QueensBridge Venture Partners (ironically, based in L.A.), which has supported more than 40 startups, including Lyft, Dropbox and Waze.

Meanwhile, headliner Ms. Lauryn Hill continues to defiantly follow the path she forged in the wake of her breakout album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, a five-time Grammy winner that helped define the ’90s neo-soul movement. The 1998 release remains her only solo studio record, but it continues to transcend its timestamp.

Hill has successfully accelerated her touring schedule over the last few years after several years of shunning the public eye, with sometimes erratic behavior and legal issues surrounding tax debt. It all sounds like a hot mess, and that sometimes holds true at her shows. However, tracks like “Doo Wop (That Thing),” “Ex-Factor” and “Everything Is Everything” still deliver the kind of substance and soul that only a handful of other artists of her generation have tapped.

We’re still singing along. Imagine that.

Ms Lauryn Hill & Nas
Oct 7, 7pm, $42+
Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View

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