RAP legend Nas performed his classic debut album Illmatic in full to a packed 02 Academy on Tuesday, followed by tracks from his arguably lesser LPs.

The “King of New York” title is highly disputed in hip hop, but the 41-year-old MC has more of a claim to it than most. Hailing from Queensbridge, the largest public housing development in the US, Nas’s 1994 debut was hailed as revolutionary.

Illmatic is a masterclass. Showcasing sharp social commentary and vivid storytelling with a timeless jazzy boom bap sound, Nas’s stunningly advanced lyricism quickly earned him the nickname “the Queensbridge poet”.

The rapper himself acknowledged his status halfway through the show, reminiscing that he “used to listen to legends like Eric B & Rakim, De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest.

“Now they all have to listen to my shit as well.”

However, humility is perhaps not appropriate here. He barely needed to rap the first verse of opener NY State of Mind, with the Glasgow crowd roaring back the refrain of “I never sleep because sleep is the cousin of death”. To his credit, this wasn’t just a lazy recital from Nas. A depressing feature of many hip hop shows is their erratic nature, but virtually every Illmatic verse was performed in full, expertly backed by DJ Lantern on the decks.

The remainder encompassed the high points of the career that followed Illmatic. Although many subsequent albums were initial disappointments, they spawned classic individual tracks and, wisely, Nas dispensed with his more commercial efforts in favour of acclaimed tracks such as Made You Look, Nas is Like and One Mic. That said, perhaps keen to show there is bite in the old dog yet, he elected to encore with The Don, one of the most club-friendly tracks he’s put to tape.

Beyond Nas’s performance, the night wasn’t entirely a success. Rather than provide the opportunity of a support slot for a local hip hop act, organisers treated the crowd to a set from infamous BBC DJ Tim Westwood. He was eventually booed off stage after a lengthy set played via a USB stick.

If Westwood is a veteran past his best, Nas is the perfect counterpoint. Though it is doubtful he will ever touch the bar he set for himself on what is probably the greatest hip hop album of all time, he is self-aware enough to celebrate this achievement.