Nas is “a huge creative force,” according to the Moulin Rouge director.
Nas is working with film director Baz Luhrmann on forthcoming Netflix series The Get Down about the beginning of New York hip-hop and set to star Jaden Smith.
Speaking at a panel discussion with series writer Nelson George at the Tribeca Film Festival on Saturday (April 23), the Romeo + Juliet film-maker said: “One of the great collaborations is that I’ve been working really closely in creating these rhymes, and he’s a producer on the film, with one of the most iconic voices of the 1990s and that’s Nas. And so Nas has been this other huge creative force in the production. And it’s been playing really, really successfully.”
He continued: “One of the things which I don’t think anyone knows, because it’s not in the trailers — and we’ve been doing this for about a year now — is that one of the characters goes on and we discover that he’s actually a successful rap star in the 1990s, and he narrates it through rhyme, through rap.”
Luhrmann described the rhymes as “somewhere between pure rap, narration, and sort of Greek chorus comment. We weren’t sure about it when we began, and we couldn’t do without it now. And [Nas has] been fantastic in that regard.”
The show will focus on the birth of rap in New York in the 1970s. Grandmaster Flash, portrayed by Mamoudou Athie in The Get Down, is also serving as an advisor and associate producer on the show, which debuts on Netflix August 12.
Earlier this month, Nas and the late J Dilla came together for Madlib-produced track ‘The Sickness’, which was previously premiered to fans during Nas’ SXSW performance. Watch that performance below.