Hip-hop’s own Holy Grail, Nas’ classic debut album ‘Illmatic’ celebrates its 20th birthday in April 2014. Clash recently talked to the Queens, NYC rapper about the impact that the record continues to have on the genre.
As well as getting its maker’s own take on the way that ‘Illmatic’ continues to inspire, we also reached out to a range of today’s best MCs and producers, to find out when they first got their hands on the record, and the effect that it has had on their careers since.
When did you first hear the album?
The first time I heard ‘Illmatic’, I was around 13, and it was recommended in a list of the best rap albums of all time, with other classic projects from like Wu-Tang Clan, 2Pac, Biggie, DOOM and so on. After seeing that, I looked further into each record.
How has ‘Illmatic’ influenced you?
It has been a huge influence on me! The lyricism of each track is amazing – each track has its own story, and that’s something I really like about it.
Do you have a favourite track from the album?
If I try and pick a favourite track, later on I'm going to wish I said a different track. I seriously can’t pick just one!