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2004 VH1 Hip Hop Honors - Audience and Backstage

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Comedian Tracy Morgan and Hip-Hop icon Nas have been friends for a very long time, but Morgan recently found something out that Morgan said brought the Illmatic emcee to tears.

Nas and Tracy Morgan are cousins.

The 30 Rock actor made an appearance on an upcoming episode of PBS’s Finding Your Roots, a series hosted by educator, activist and writer Henry Louis Gates Jr. that celebrates the ancestral histories of celebrities and other prominent Americans. During a recent interview on the Connect The Dots podcast, Morgan revealed that on the PBS show, he learned about the DNA he shares with Nas, born Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones.

“The last question he asks you, he says, ‘We want to know who did this show that you’re related to. Mr. Morgan, will you turn the last page?’” Morgan recalled. “And guess who’s sitting there? Nas. Me and Nas is third cousins on my mom’s side.”

“But me and Esco was always tight before that,” Morgan continued. “I did a show years ago on Comedy Central, a special called ‘One Mic,’ that was for Nas’ mom that just passed away. I named my special ‘One Mic,’ so me and Esco always been tight.”

But, according to Morgan, the real tender and emotional moment came when he called Nas to give him the news.

“I called him up, and I say, ‘Yo Esco,’” he explained. “He said, ‘What up, Tray?’ I said, ‘Guess what? I just did ‘Finding Your Roots,’ me and you related.’ He started crying. I started crying. And I said to him, ‘If you ever need me, I’m there, cuz.’” He said Nas returned the sentiment.

For Morgan—as it is for Black people all over America—the experience of finding out where and who one comes from isn’t just cathartic, it’s important and can be a self-revealing experience.
“You need to know who you come from before you leave this earth,” he said on the podcast. “Know who you are and where you come from. Knowledge of self. I did a lot of crying, and no matter who you are, you’re gonna break down.”