Nas and Gary Clark Jr. to Collaborate on Music for ESPN's NFL Draft Coverage

6:00 AM PST 04/05/2012 by Erik Pedersen
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Two songs from the rapper's forthcoming album and the guitarist's "Bright Lights" will back the network's broadcasts from Radio City Music Hall.

With the first two picks in the 2012 NFL Draft, ESPN selects Nas and Gary Clark Jr.

The sports cable network said Thursday that the rapper and guitarist will collaborate on music for its live coverage of the NFL Draft from April 26-28 at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

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“I know this from experience: every rookie has the chance to become a Hall of Famer,” Nas said. “It’s why we never miss a game, even a play. Props to the NFL and ESPN for keeping us hooked on professional football all year round.”

Two songs from Nas’ forthcoming 10th studio album -- “Train” and “The Don” -- and Clark’s “Bright Lights” will be used in highlight packages of draft prospects and as commercial bumpers. Nas will add some original lyrics to the Clark song as well.

“The NFL Draft is set in New York in primetime, so we were looking at music that is central to that theme, and both Nas -- who is from New York -- and Gary Clark Jr. have that feel,” said ESPN music director Kevin Wilson. “When we heard the ‘The Don’ and ‘Train’ and proposed the idea of custom lyrics from Nas, we knew those songs were perfect for the draft. Both ‘The Don’ and ‘Bright Lights’ are about New York City, and there’s a great line in Gary’s song: ‘You gonna know my name by the end of the night’. That is the essence of the draft.”

Both acts have worked with ESPN before. Nas narrated a Sports Emmy-winning 2010 piece for the newsmagazine E:60 about amputees in Liberia who play soccer. Clark’s songs were among those heard in ESPN and ABC’s college football coverage last year.

"I have mad respect for Nas and the things he's put out there over the years,” Clark said. “I really enjoyed working on this project with ESPN and look forward to seeing the whole thing come together.”

The network did shoots with Nas in New York and Clark in Austin, so video will be used on-air as well as their music. A promo segment using “Bright Lights” is airing on SportsCenter, NFL Live and other ESPN programs.

ESPN has been airing the NFL Draft since 1980, the network’s second year of existence. Its coverage of this year’s first round runs 8-11:30 p.m. ET April 26. Rounds 2 and 3 will air from 7-11:30 p.m. April 27, and Rounds 4 through 7 will be noon-8 p.m. April 28.

“As a fan, I’m happy to be part of it,” Nas said.

Watch ESPN’s NFL Draft promo below.

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