Nas & Erykah Badu Perform Their New Song With The Intensity It Deserves (Video)

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In July, Nas and Erykah Badu released “This Bitter Land.” The collaboration was a standout single from The Land soundtrack, which belongs to a film that Nasir Jones co-produced. The song blends poetry with singing, as Nas returns to form spitting over sparse instrumentation that bares little resemblance to the beats he’s made hits with. Meanwhile, Miss Badu apparently channels her Nina Simone side, with a pained, all-knowing vocal that matches the song’s theme and title.

While this is not a song likely to be heard on terrestrial radio, the two veteran musicians brought their piece to Jimmy Kimmel Live!. Performing last night (October 12), Nas and Erykah delivered the art complete with a string section. Badu sings with her eyes closed. Nas covers his with sunglasses, as he drops his verse with conviction. Viewers can hear the MC’s breaths, simulating a sense of urgency on a song with such potent lyrics. In this rendition, as posted below, those poetic rhymes are slightly altered and abbreviated from the album version.

Nas Drops One Of The Feature Verses Of His Career & It’s DEEP (Audio)

Runnin’ on the concrete,
Cross the train tracks

The devil is behind me
In the ghetto where’s you’ll find me,
It’s where I stays at

Cops shot us up, he get a medal then retire
But it never will define me
Write a letter to the President,
Tell him stop riding me,
Who’s ever in control of the society

Tryna feed my seeds
Getting high on weed, study my degrees
Stay fly, gettin’ paper
With some dead white people faces in the circle of spaces around the green
I’m on lean, I’m on Percs, it’s a bitter Earth
Is a nigga cursed? Am I blessed? See what I mean
It’s a test, life is a test
Life is like a hood, hard
Trying not to fall between the cracks
Where it’s so dark, and it’s so dark
Seems like I need light in this land
Where I gotta fight
Catch a body in the night, we need a plan.

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Also on The Land soundtrack are Fashawn, Dave East, Pusha T and Jeremih, among others.