A friend couldn’t have summed up ESPN’s Winter X-Games better: “For three days every January, Sal Masakela gets a job and ESPN showcases 9 million degrees of spins.” Very true, but it also allows the network to try and awkwardly fit some randomly selected soundtrack to long-haired Europeans’ doing flips off a 30-foot snow pile. Nas held that position this year, but his appearance wasn’t as disastrous as it could’ve been.
There was some awkward pre-performance small talk, but Nas eventually broke into a unplanned rendition of current single “Nasty.” Even without a sound check, the performance was solid and definitely a warm welcome for the crowds who were braving single-digit temperatures. The Queensbridge performer’s set also provided a welcome break from the usual hum-drum music typical of ESPN’s extreme athletic pander-fest. Instead of the music seeming like stuff ESPN suits think snowboarders listen to, Nas’ inclusion signifies music that extreme athletes probably do listen to.
Then again, maybe they don’t listen to Nasir. However, it’s always good to see a Hip-Hop legend rocking the event instead of some 15-minutes-of-fame indie act.