HARI In-House Blog

"Hiphop Meets Jazz" Appreciation Series: Keepin' It In The Family with Nas and Olu Dara

The musical relationship between Nas and his father Olu Dara exemplifies how the embrace of jazz in hiphop signals a generation building on the theme music and reality of their grandparents, parents, cousins, and neighborhoods while simultaneously adding their own truths. From the beginning of his career, Nas has not just referenced but also included his father, a Blues musician, in his music. Olu Dara was featured on "Life's a Bitch" from the critically acclaimed Illmatic and the two have continued to collaborate, from "Jungle Jay" in 1998 to "Bridging the Gap" in 2004 and even starring together in Gap's 2012 Holiday Campaign. In his words, Nas's music is "the child" of his father's music and the presence of influence of jazz can be found beyond Nas and Olu Dara's joint efforts. Learn more by reading "Memory Lane: On Jazz, Hiphop, and Fathers" by Marc Anthony Neal from Born To Use Mics: Reading Nas's Illmatic edited by Michael Eric Dyson and Sohail Daulatzai. Afterward, check out Olu Dara's interview with 2DopeBoyz on the connection between jazz and hiphop and listen to the pair's shared tracks.