Not only does the Life Is Good rapper make an appearance to discuss the era, but he also does an amazing cover of Memphis Jug Band’s standard “On the Road Again.”
In a preview clip of the show’s first episode, which was produced by Allison McGourty, Duke Erikson and director Bernard MacMahon, both the “Nas Album Done” MC and famed Bluesman Charlie Musselwhite, speak on Memphis Jug Band and their impact during the musical period.
“When you hear me saying it, you might think I wrote it, because it sounds like something today. These guys are talking about carrying guns, shooting something, protecting their honor, chasing after some woman who’s done them dirty… it’s the same as rap music today, so it just tells you something about American culture, American music…It didn’t start with hip-hop, it started a long time ago. It started with America,” says Nas in the preview clip.
American Epic also signed on Jack White, T-Bone Burnett and Robert Redford as executive producers, with the first episode being titled “The Big Bang.” The debut episode explores 1920s Tennessee where the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, and the Memphis Jug Band made their first records with producer Ralph Peer.
You can catch the PBS film series airing on the network on Tuesdays May 16, 23 and 30 at 9 p.m. EST. The American Epic Sessions, which features the cover performance from Nas, will air in the U.S. on PBS on Tuesday, June 6 at 8 p.m.
Watch the veteran rapper in the preview clip for the series below.