In this new clip from the upcoming PBS documentary American Epic, we see Nas and Jack White performing a cover of “On The Road Again,” a 1928 Blues song by Memphis Jug Band. As Nas points out in the accompanying commentary, the similarities between the lyrics of the nearly 100-year-old track and today’s Hip-Hop are oddly similar considering the vastly different time periods:
“These guys are talking about women carrying guns, protecting their honor, chasing down some woman who’s done them dirty. This is not high-society black folks. This is the down-under, street, wild black folks that they’re singing about. And it’s the same as today – it’s the same as rap music today…”
American Epic was produced by White, Robert Redford and T Bone Burnett and will examine the birth of recorded music in the early decades of the 20th century. Look for it to premiere on PBS on May 16th. On June 6th, the network will air the American Epic Sessions concert special, which will include the Nas and White performance, as well as additional performances from Beck, Alabama Shakes, Los Lobos and Raphael Saadiq among others. The music from the special will additionally be available on two separate soundtracks scheduled for a May 12th release.