Rapper Nas paid tribute to Robert De Niro at the Tribeca Film Festival, where his documentary Time is Illmatic played as the opening night selection. According to Variety, the crowd at the Beacon Theater practically sang the entirety of the rapper's classic 1994 album Illmatic, with the movie telling the story of how the groundbreaking record put Nas on the map.
Nas at the premiere of 'Time is Illmatic'
The Wednesday evening screening was a double feature of sorts, with Nas playing a nine-song concert, featuring Alicia Keys on piano.
"I want to thank Robert De Niro," Nas said on-stage. "He plays me in the movies."
"I only got involved recently," Nas said, of the Tribeca-financed film. "But I'm happy I did."
The movie's credited writer, Erik Parker, said the movie's job title wasn't meant to be taken literally. "We did everything from PA work to producing to directing," Parker said, noting that the movie's budget ranged from "zero to zero to zero."
As for De Niro himself - he admitted that he didn't have a favorite Nas song - "No" he said when asked if he was familiar with the rapper's lyrics. Then he put his finger to his lips: "Shhh!"
In fact, De Niro admitted to not having seen any of this year's selections at the Tribeca Film Festival. "I haven't seen any. I'm trying to see them now. For me, it's harder to see the movies," he told Variety.
Movies showing at Tribeca this year include Jon Favreau's gastro-comedy Chef, starring Scarlett Johansson, Sofia Vergara, Bobby Cannavale and Robert Downey Jr.