It’s difficult to say anything that hasn’t already been said before, as we’ve had exactly 20 years to process the greatness that is Nas’ 1994 debut, Illmatic. Basically everything that needs to be said has already been said. Without even hearing a single beat, sample or rhyme from the album, you already know what Illmatic is. And with 20 years under its (championship) belt the acknowledgement of its greatness is brought right back up on its anniversary, including the release of director one9’s Nas: Time Is Illmatic, a documentary film that chronicles the circumstances leading up to the groundbreaking record.

And we here at iHipHop thought we would honor Nas’ Illmatic in the only way we see fit: counting down the album’s 20 absolute best lyrics. Of course, this was quite a daunting task for us seeing as there’s easily more than 20 incredible, groundbreaking lyrics on Illmatic. But we tried our best. After the jump!

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CNN recently crowned Nas the greatest lyricist of all time. Who knows why CNN decided to throw their hat in that ring? Maybe Anderson Cooper is dating a fan of Nas. Maybe Ted Turner misses having Nas as a tennis buddy in Atlanta and is hoping that flattery will be as persuasive as Kelis’ milkshake to get him back. The most likely reason is that Nas’ lyrics just sound more like the news than anyone else’s. If you enjoy listening to a sociology class lecture, and equally enjoy weaker beat selections, then Nas is the rapper for you. Read More

In this interview with 2DopeBoyz and The Well Versed, Kendrick addresses comparisons of his debut album good kid, m.A.A.d city to Nas’ iconic Illmatic album. He also recounts the time he showed Andre 3000 his album in the studio. Kendrick’s album is out in stores now so go cop that and support one of the realest albums of the year.

This is one of the best videos I ever found. Videos like this are the reason I love the internet. I found this a while ago. This is the Nas Electronic Press Kit for his debut album “Illmatic”, my (and a lot of other peoples) favorite hip hop album of all time. This video is wild. It features the production lineup from the album (Dj Premier, Large Professor, Q Tip & Pete Rock) discussing Nas and the making of the album. It also features Nas’ original home Queensbridge Projects and a cast of people that live there. This was the begining of a new era in rap that came as quick as it went. Enjoy. 



 |  September 4, 2008

Looks like the classic Nas album Illmatic continues to weather the test of time against the cookie cutter albums and ringtone tracks the majority gravitate towards today. The debut album from the Queensbridge rapper which was released 14 years ago was one of the few to get five mics from the Source when five mics really really meant five mics. The album which featured production from legends, Pete Rock, DJ Premier, L.E.S and Large Professor is now the focal topic of a book by Eric Michael Dyson.

Expected to hit shelves in early 2009, the book will analyze and ‘re-articulate’ every track from the album which is considered one of the best Hip-Hop albums ever.  Illmatic has been mentioned by various rappers since it was released including, The Game (of course), Just Blaze, Lupe Fiasco and Alchemist.

Eric Michael Dyson who was granted his degree from Princeton UniversityNas is responsible for titles such as Holler If You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur and Is Bill Crosby Right?  It makes you wonder how many of todays albums will be worthy of an accolade such as this 14 years from now.