This year marks the 20th anniversary of Nassir Jones’ classic Hip-Hop album Illmatic. Today, Nas drops Illmatic XX, the 20th anniversary edition of the ’94 debut of one of the most prolific rappers of our generation. Nas not only dropped a classic album, but changed hip hop as a whole with his gritty poetic street rhymes with a real message. Illmatic appears on best hip hop albums lists and many note the rapper as being one of the most influential rappers. This past weekend, Nas performed the classic album front to back at Coachella (video below), bringing out Hova to assist on a few tracks. That performance couldn’t have been better, as you can see that no matter what, the Queensboro MC, 20 years later after dropping his debut, is still one of the most relevant hip hop artists today.
I was 11 years old when Illmatic dropped, and I remember listening to it like it was yesterday. My older brother had it on cassette, and I used to sneak into his show box of tapes while he was gone and listen to them on my Sony Walkman (remember those kids?). Not until a few years later did I really understand what Nas was rhyming about and really understand the rhymes and message he was conveying. 20 years later, the albums is still as relevant as it was in ’94. Not only did he shape his career, but Nas shaped and changed hip hop culture as a whole.
To continue the celebration of the 20th anniversary, Nas will be premiere the documentary Time is Illmatic at the opening night of the Tribeca Film Festival tomorrow. If you can make the opening night, I would suggest it or just wait until it hits Netflix like the rest of us. You can buy Illmatic XX now on iTunes.
“I gave you what the streets felt like, what it tasted like, sounded like, smelled like, all on that album, and I tried to capture it like no one else could,” the rapper says in the trailer.
Stream Illmatic XX and the trailer for the documentary below.
Illmatic XX Tracklist:
Disc 1: Remastered original album
01. The Genesis
02. N.Y. State Of Mind
03. Life’s A Bitch
04. The World Is Yours
06. Memory Lane (Sittin’ In Da Park)
07. One Love
08. One Time 4 Your Mind
10. It Ain’t Hard To Tell
Disc 2: Demos, Remixes & Live Radio
01. I’m A Villain (previously unreleased)
02. The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show on WKCR October 28, 1993 (previously unreleased freestyle)
03. Halftime (Butcher Remix)
04. It Ain’t Hard To Tell (Remix) (promo single)
05. One Love (LG Main Mix)
06. Life’s A Bitch (Arsenal Mix) (promo single)
07. One Love (One L Main Mix)
08. The World Is Yours (Tip Mix)
09. It Ain’t Hard To Tell (The Stink Mix) (UK single)
10. It Ain’t Hard To Tell (The Laidback Remix) (UK single)