Tracing his ancestors back to slavery for the PBS series Finding Your Roots has ignited a fire in Nas, he revealed at the Television Critics Association panel discussion Wednesday (July 23).
He recalled seeing a bill of sale for one of his ancestors from 1859. "First I was enraged when I looked at the bill of sale," he said. "I was like that guy that owned property owes me some cash. My people made him really wealthy so maybe I should find his family and talk."
The father of two has changed his mind since that initial reaction. He's now "on a mission to find out more" about his roots and believes the entire experience will have a natural affect on his music. "I think in some way it will happen on its own," he said.
Nas is the first rapper to participate in the documentary series hosted by Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Finding Your Roots premieres its second season on Sept. 23.
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(Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images for the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival)