‘He Started Crying’: Tracy Morgan Calls Nas After Discovering They’re Cousins

The “30 Rock” alum participated in an upcoming “Finding Your Roots” episode to trace his ancestral history.

Tracy Morgan and Nas have been friends for years — and relatives forever.

While participating in an upcoming episode of “Finding Your Roots,” a PBS series that celebrates the ancestral histories of notable Americans, Morgan discovered that his longtime friend was actually related to him. He recalled learning of their shared DNA in a recent “Connect The Dots” podcast interview.

“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?’” the comedian said on the podcast. “And guess who’s sitting there? Nas. Me and Nas is third cousins on my mom’s side.”

He continued, “But me and Esco was always tight before that. 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.”

Nas was born Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones and has used various rap handles throughout his career, including Escobar. He became hip-hop’s golden child after releasing “Illmatic,” one of the most coveted albums in the genre, in 1994 as his debut at only 20 years old.

Morgan called the Grammy winner to share the profound news immediately.

“I called him up, and I say, ‘Yo Esco,’” he recalled. “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.’”

Morgan continued: “He said, ‘Cuz, if you ever need me, I’m there.’”

Morgan and Nas at the 2004 VH1 Hip Hop Honors in New York City.
Morgan and Nas at the 2004 VH1 Hip Hop Honors in New York City.
Stephen Lovekin/FilmMagic/Getty Images

“Finding Your Roots” is hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr., head of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard. Guests are presented with a “book of life” about their lineages and migratory paths compiled by genealogists and historians.

Previous guests include RuPaul Charles and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who were also revealed as cousins, and Ben Affleck — who asked PBS to edit out information about a slave-owning ancestor. For Morgan, the process was not only cathartic but essential.

“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.”

Morgan will appear in Season 10, Episode 8 of “Finding Your Roots” on Feb. 20.

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