Nas - Illmatic
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Has PIC Inner Sleeve
Genre: Hip Hop
40 Side North
The Genesis 1:45
N.Y. State Of Mind 4:52
Life's A Bitch 3:29
The World Is Yours 4:50
41st Side South
Memory Lane (Sittin' In Da Park) 4:06
One Love 5:24
One Time 4 Your Mind 3:17
It Ain't Hard To Tell 3:22
Give respect where it's due. This is one of the most outstanding rap albums ever made. Nine songs of pure New York hip-hop. No one, not even Nas, could have expected to surpass the greatness of this album with future releases. I mean, the production is great, but it's the rhyming skills Nas displays which will keep you focused.
. Illmatic is considered by many to be one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time, and perhaps.... the GREATEST. When Illmatic was released, jaws dropped, and people went running for the hills. At this time, the lyricism and storytelling was unmatched by any emcee.
This is the album that put Nas on the map. This is the album that labeled him the "New Rakim." This is the album that will put Nas in the book of the greatest rappers of all time. This is the album that put him at the top of the New York rap scene, next to KRS, Rakim, Biggie, and of course, his rival Jay-Z. Bottom Line, Nas will never make an album this good...
The first thing you notice about the overall sound of Illmatic, is that it has a very underground feel to it, and never ceases to leave you amazed at the wordplay that Nas delivers from his vocal cords. Like he said on "Got Yourself a Gun", Illmatic had no famous guest appearances here. Only his protege AZ appears on one track, which is good because it would introduce AZ to the world, which is a cool thing by Nas. Plus, AZ is skillfull, like Nas. However, other famous people do appear on this album, but dont fully rap. Illmatic uses several voice samples from such artists as Rakim, Biz-Markie, Q-Tip, and Pete Rock.
Illmatic kicks off with "Genesis", the closest that we get to a "Skit" is this intro. But its good. It begins with an eerie subway train sound, and a faded sound sample of Nas rapping on "Live at the Barbeque" with Main Source, which is one of his very early joints. AZ and Nas begin to talk about all of these weak rappers, and Nas even claims that he is underground, and that he is ready to rap about the real sh*t. The background gives us some eerie subway sounds, probably taken from the Queensbridge Projects themselves.
Afterwards we get a thumping, sort of purposely distorted drum loop to match Nas and AZ's vocals. This intro gives you a real feeling of the backpacker, sort of underground taste that Nas has to offer with Illmatic. ."
This leads right into "NY State of Mind", the first instant classic from this album. Immediately the beat kicks with smashing saxophone sounds, thumping bassline, and some light piano tunes in the back, produced by the legendary DJ Premier. Then Nas' lyrics explode into the speakers and/or headphones. This is the first of many street narrative tracks on this album, as he speaks about how it is in New York, with the excessive violence and crime in his home town. He describes through ghetto storytelling what he's seen, and what he thinks. His delivery and lyrics are top notch, like in the whole album.
He uses illuminary and skilled, well-written lyrics and a multi-syllable flow to get his thoughts out on wax. This is the perfect introductory track to showcase his skills as he spits about 60 bars, split in two verses. The chorus samples the voice of Rakim, which adds to it that much more because Rakim is a native New York citizen, and Nas is the so-called "New Rakim", so why not use him.
"Life's a B*tch" features Nas' protege AZ, in the only guest appearance on all of Illmatic. This is an instant rap classic.
This song is produced by Large Professor, a legendary producer in his own right. It uses soft clapping sounds, an old Eric B.-style Bassline, and has some jazz and soul sounds. Lyrically, there isnt much to say. The wordplay and poetry is at its highest level, as both emcees adopt a multi-syllable flow, excellent vocabulary, a great choice of words, and a very tight delivery make this track a classic.
Both emcees complement each other perfectly, and many think AZ outshines Nas, but i however, dont believe so and i think they are pretty much equal. They both give us an incredible lyrical showing, which is still jaw-dropping by today's standards of hip-hop. Few emcees can give us this much pure skill within just one song, and this much of a perfectly orchestrated verse.
Its funny because to decide who has a better verse, would take quite some time. Its honestly a toss-up. As we already know, Nas is excellent on this song, but of course, AZ flourishes with his brilliance and intelligence as well:
"Visualizin the realism of life and actuality, F*ck who's the baddest a person's status depends on salary, And my mentality is, money orientated, I'm destined to live the dream for all my peeps who never made it, cause yeah, we were beginners in the hood as five percenters, But somethin must of got in us cause all of us turned to sinners, Now some, restin in peace and some are sittin in San Quentin, Others such as myself are tryin to carry on tradition, Keepin the schwepervesence street ghetto essence inside us, Cause it provides us with the proper insight to guide us".
"The World is Yours" is one of the singles from Illmatic, and is yet another classic. Pete Rock appears here, but he is uncredited, strangely enough, but does the chorus and the beat. A lot of songs have tried to copy this song, but none have been able to attain its level. Nas raps about his own personal thoughts, instead of just street poetry, showcasing his prophetic view on life. This has a lot of originality, and parts from the rest of Illmatic, when it comes to that factor. He retrospects on his own life, and rap about some of the situations in his life. He uses an amazing vocabulary and rhymes them skillfully. Pete Rock supplies the memorable beat with a tight piano medley, bass, clap, snare, and drums. The scratching is excellent for the chorus.
Lyrically? This is pure Street Poetry and Introspection at its best: "I sip the Dom P, watchin Gandhi til I'm charged, Then writin in my book of rhymes, all the words pass the margin, To hold the mic I'm throbbin, mechanical movement, Understandable smooth sh*t that murderers move wit, The thief's theme, play me at night, they won't act right, The fiend of hip-hop has got me stuck like a crack pipe, The mind activation, react like I'm facin time like, 'Pappy' Mason with pens I'm embracin, Wipe the sweat off my dome, spit the phlegm on the streets, Suede Timb's on my feets, makes my cypher, complete, Whether crusin in a Sikh's cab, or Montero Jeep, I can't call it, the beats make me fallin asleep, I keep fallin, but never fallin six feet deep, I'm out for presidents to represent me (Say what?), I'm out for presidents to represent me (Say what?), I'm out for dead presidents to represent me".
The lead-single "Halftime" is the next track, and it is suitable to be placed here, as we are halfway through Illmatic. This is a pure head-bobbing, old school braggadiocio track. The feel of the track sounds a lot like an old Rakim track, which explains why Nas was dubbed the "New Rakim" after Illmatic hit shelves. Nas spits some tight-a** punchlines, with a multi-syllable flow, multi-bar rhyme scheme as every line is on point and spat perfectly. His rhymes are well-written, and carefully crafted to match with the instrumental, which is a perfectly organized track of horns, trumpets, mixed with hard and deep bassline, which i enjoyed, and some Christmas-like chimes in the background, which was a pretty cool idea. As usual, Often Imitated, but never duplicated: "Before a blunt, I take out my fronts, Then I start to front, matter of fact, I be on a manhunt. You couldn't catch me in the streets without a ton of reefer, That's like Malcolm X, catchin the Jungle Fever, King poetic, too much flavor, I'm major, Atlanta ain't Brave-r, I'll pull a number like a pager,Cause I'm an ace when I face the bass, 40-side is the place that is givin me grace, Now wait, another dose and you might be dead, And I'm a Nike head, I wear chains that excite the feds, And ain't a damn thing gonna change, I'ma performer strange, so the mic warmer was born to gain, Nas, why did you do it?, You know you got the mad fat fluid when you rhyme, it's halftime"
Nas - Life's A Bitch
Who cares who had the better verse..all that matters is they both got dope lyrics & both created one of the most influential masterpieces of all-time illmatic...Nas top 3 all day...AZ is underated as hell..why isn't AZ known as much as nas?
Nas - Illmatic Documentary
This IS the best hip hop album of all time. I will never get tired of it. It's as if I get withdrawl if I dont get my daily dose of Illmatic. It's got such a special vibe that it captures the feeling of NY and Queens.
If I had to describe this album I would say New York. There it is. NY on a record!
NAS - It Aint Hard To Tell
sample from Michael Jackson - Human Nature
This is it -- the pinnacle of Hip Hop, it will NEVER get better than this. This is an art perfected right here..
Nas - The World Is Yours
"The World Is Yours" is the third single from rapper Nas' debut album Illmatic, released a month after the album. The song was produced by Pete Rock—who also sings the song's chorus—and it samples "I Love Music" by Ahmad Jamal and "It's Yours" by T La Rock. A remix of the song was produced by Q-Tip featuring similar but new lyrics; both it and the original were released by Columbia Records as singles, and promoted with music videos. It reached #13 on the Hot Rap Singles chart in 1994 and is now lauded as one of Nas' best tracks. The song and it's accompanying video pay homage to the film Scarface. "The World is Yours" is known for being one of the foundations of the Jay-Z vs. Nas feud because of Jay-Z sampling it on his first single "Dead Presidents", using one of Nas' lines as the chorus.
Nas - N.Y. State Of Mind (Video)
The beat, the rhymes, the message, the flo and timing...I cant think of a hiphop song touching this one :)
Nas - One Love
Illmatic is the best rap album of all time in my opinion because every song on that album was good enough to stand as a single by itself...He was 21, its crazy how deep this song is, for a 21 year old man