*Hip-hop artists including rappers Nas and Somalia-born K’naan will hit the Kennedy Center stage next year for the weeklong festival, “One Mic: Hip-Hop Culture Worldwide.”
The center announced Tuesday that its 2014 hip-hop festival will open with Nas rapping with musicians from the National Symphony Orchestra on music from his classic debut album “Illmatic.” The festival will also feature Puerto Rican musicians Calle 13 and a graffiti exhibition.
The mix of rap, DJing and graffiti with more traditional arts at one of the nation’s busiest performing arts centers will make the year unique, Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser said.
“Hip-hop is clearly something new and different for us,” Kaiser said, noting the center had also created festivals around country music and gospel, which are also less familiar in its concert halls. “I think to do something very current is important. We’re trying to speak to many different audiences.”