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first_imgPBS is currently working on a new documentary project dubbed American Epic, a three-part documentary series, with Jack White, T Bone Burnett, and Robert Redford as executive producers. American Epic explores early recording technology from the 1920’s and how it captured the sounds of some of the first musicians formative to the genres of blues, country, gospel, Hawaiian, Cajun, and folk music. Ahead of the premiere of the documentary series premiere on May 16th, a new clip has been released showing Jack White and the legendary hip-hop artist Nas performing on a modernized version of Memphis Jug Band’s 1928 song “On the Road Again.”Before going into their cover of the 1920’s blues song, which features Nas rapping over the traditional jug band sound, the short video also features interviews with the rapper. Nas speaks to the connection between modern rap music and 1920’s blues, saying, “The Memphis Jug Band — it sounds like something today. These guys are talking about women carrying guns, protecting their honor, chasing down some woman who’s done them dirty. This is not high-society black folks. This is the down-under, street, wild black folks that they’re singing about. And it’s the same as today — it’s the same as rap music today … This music from Memphis: They were rapping about street life and gangsta life and hustling — just a dark side of the world. It just goes to show me that rapping is a natural, poetic thing. It’s always been here. As long as there was English and black people, there was rap.”The series will also feature a full-length movie called The American Epic Sessions, during which various musicians come together to record on the primitive recording technology of the 1920’s. Artists to appear on The American Epic Sessions include Jack White, Beck, Elton John, Nas, Willie Nelson, the Avett Brothers, Alabama Shakes, Los Lobos and Steve Martin & Edie Brickell, and the film will be released on June 6th.last_img read more