Nas and The Roots are set to perform several songs together at the Boston Calling Festival, which is slated to take place today (September 5) though Sunday (September 7) at Boston’s City Hall Plaza. 

Boston Calling co-organizer Josh Bhatti says that the festival’s line-up, which also includes such rap acts as Childish Gambino, brings distinctive elements to the table. 

“Putting together Nas and The Roots was kind of an idea that we came around on with knowing that Nas was available,” Bhatti says during an exclusive interview with HipHopDX. “With the twentieth anniversary of Illmattic, he’s been doing that show this year, and knowing that The Roots were interested and being able to offer something unique at Boston Calling that is not popping up at every other festival [was appealing to us]. 

“We were diving into September last year, that was right around the time a lot of the summer festivals were just announcing or about to announce that OutKast was everywhere, you know, on every single festival to the point that people were joking about it,” Bhatti continues. “Not to say that that it hurts anything for them, because say a festival in San Francisco won’t affect sales of a festival in Texas. But people knew that OutKast was on every festival. So this was our angle to be artistically exciting, but also something unique by which you’re not going to be able to go to five other festivals and see Nas and The Roots collaborating on a few songs. They both are going to do their own thing, but they will come to that point of sharing the stage together. 

“There’s also a certain appeal for an act like Childish Gambino to segue and stand out from the pack a little bit,” Bhatti adds. “To be able to do his full show here, it’s going to sandwich between Lorde, Girl Talk, and Volcano Choir. It definitely stands out as something different. But I think that’s something that he embraces in that’s how he’s able to grow his fanbase, by not sticking to strictly Hip-Hop festivals or Hip Hop-centric shows.”

The Boston Calling Festival is slated to feature performances from 24 acts this weekend. 

Last year’s edition of the festival featured Kendrick Lamar, among others.

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