With this month marking the 20th year anniversary of one Hip Hop’s most highly regarded albums, Nas’s Illmatic is still as on point, listenable and obviously pioneering as it was back in April 1994. Combining a production dream team including DJ Premier, Large Professor, Pete Rock and Q-Tip with Nas’s incredibly astute, observant storytelling and effortlessly flowing lyricism, the Queensbridge MC’s debut album set a new bench mark for the genre, it’s poetic vision and social journalism showing just how powerful Hip Hop can be in summing up an era. To celebrate twenty years of legendary status, Illmatic has today been rereleased as a deluxe package, Illmatic XX, featuring the ten original tracks as well as a bonus disk of demos, remixes and live cuts.
As part of it’s promotion, a wealth of Nas material has been popping up recently around the internet, two of our favourite pieces of which are featured below. Firstly, BBC Radio 1’s Zane Lowe spoke to Nas in an incredibly insightful 21 minute interview that covers lost rhyme books, the birth of Illmatic, working with legendary beatmakers and the pressures of following up a classic debut. Stream that here and pick it up from Itunes here.
Secondly, Nas recently performed Illmatic in full in the desert of Coachella festival, bringing his former rival Jay-Z on stage to perform his Nas sampling Dead Presidents and HOV for Where I’m From, paying tribute to Michael Jackson who he sampled for It Ain’t Hard to Tell before finishing with Made You Look and Hate Me Now alongside Puff Daddy. Check that out below and also don’t miss the opportunity to see the NY legend perform an Illmatic set in London at Lovebox Festival this summer.
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