Jam with Nas and Jack White as they cover a blues hit from 1928

Jam with Nas and Jack White as they cover a 1928 blues hit Nas names “the starting point of rap”

In case you missed it, Jack White is creating a documentary on the history of recorded music, because who the hell else would?

American Epic is the name of the upcoming film co-produced by Robert Redford and T Bone Burnett, featuring recording sessions on old-school equipment from Willie Nelson, Beck, Elton John and Nas, amongst others.

nas jack white american epic on the road again

Dive back to the 1920s with Jack White and Nas as they cover the Memphis Jug Band’s prohibition era single On The Road Again.

Today, PBS has shared footage of one of those recording sessions. The preview finds Nas discussing how songs like the Memphis Jug Band’s 1928 single On The Road Again were essentially the starting point of rap. “It just goes to show me that rapping is a natural, poetic thing,” he says. “It’s always been there, long as there was English and black people, there was rap.”

Interspersed with his discussion is footage of the rapper, White, and a band of musicians recording an updated, hip-hop take on On the Road Again.

American Epic will air for three consecutive Tuesdays beginning May 16th. In anticipation, Legacy Recordings is releasing the companion soundtrack, as well as a 100-song box set. Columbia Records will release the American Epic Sessions studio performances, while White’s own Third Man Records plans to release the Sessions soundtrack and selections of the archival recordings on vinyl.

The Legacy and Columbia releases are set for May 12th, while Third Man’s LPs are due out June 16th. – Consequence of Sound