That crucifixion video was a bit much, and "One Mic" couldn't save Stillmatic from the doldrums, so if you've tuned out Nas since around "Black Girl Lost" on his second album, you're not alone. But starting with 2002's The Lost Tapes and God's Son (both on Columbia), he's released one must-hear disc after another in the aughts, with much of the audience for this 18+ concert not having reached kindergarten by his 1994 debut Illmatic. That classic introduced a post-Rakim voice so dry-eyed toward street nihilism and catch-you-up-after-the-fact fast and stinging that you can hear sand blowing out his eyes. The new Untitled (Def Jam), a meditation on the state of pre-President Obama dark-hued America, is his most political ever, transcending and out-weirding the flap over its scrapped N-word title. The first-ever opportunity to see Nas in the relatively intimate club space of First Avenue shouldn't be missed. Featured DJ Green Lantern also mixed The N——- Tape, a companion to Untitled, which fills in some of the controversy-induced gaps. With Jay Electronica. 18+.
Fri., Sept. 5, 8 p.m., 2008