2020 ALBUM DRAFT- ROUND 6 PICK 7- APHORISTICAL SELECTS- NAS -ILLMANIC

IllmaticNas.jpg

In my late twenties, my music buying plummeted drastically for two reasons. The city I lived in no longer had a second-hand record store, while I got married and we bought a house together limiting my disposable income. I did still pick up some CDs sometimes – I scoured the bargain bins at the local department store, while my work was a block away from the local pawn shop. I snagged some good albums from that shop, often for a few dollars – one of my favourites was Nas’ Illmatic.


Twenty year old Nas released one of the most critically acclaimed hip hop albums of all time with his debut Illmatic. It was recorded in New York, and along with contemporary releases from The Wu-Tang Clan and Mobb Depp, the period was known as the East Coast Renaissance.

Illmatic is structured like a rock album – a tight ten-track, forty-minute record that eschews the skits and long running times of 1990s hip hop. With its realistic portraits of street life in New York and lack of glamour, it’s a natural hip hop album for rock fans to gravitate towards, and it’s not surprising that it’s a fixture of best album of all time lists.

Nas is the son of trumpeter Olu Dara Jones, who plays the cornet on ‘Life’s A Bitch’. Nas is also accompanied by AZ, and the pair deliver memorable and nihilistic lines like “And my mentality is money-orientated/I’m destined to live the dream for all my peeps who never made it.”‘The World Is Yours’ provides a note of optimism on a streetwise, realistic record. Nas wrote the lyrics for ‘N.Y. State of Mind’ in the studio during the recording session, but it was later featured in the Norton Anthology of African American Literature.

Illmatic is generally regarded as one of the best hip hop records of all time, and I’m not going to disagree.

25 responses to “2020 ALBUM DRAFT- ROUND 6 PICK 7- APHORISTICAL SELECTS- NAS -ILLMANIC

  1. I have seen this album cover before but I don’t know if I have ever heard any of the music- will be listening to the album this week when I get a chance.

  2. I’ve heard some off of it on your site I believe. He does have quite a few things going on. I do like when they mix it up with different styles.

  3. Gotta say straight out, not a big fan of hip hop/rap. But I totally respect that you pick one that means something to you and I might try to give a track or two a listen with an open mind. Have heard his name but know nothing at all about him or what he sounds like… the adventure continues with this event!

  4. The lyrics to The World Is Yours are indeed something I can listen to and root for. The music and genre; I haven’t acquired the taste for it. But never say never. Thanks for helping to expand my music appreciation boundaries.

  5. It’s great to finally see some hip hop! Though I’m familiar with NAS, sadly I’ve not listened to very much of his music. When he emerged on the music scene in 1994, I had my musical head up my ass; back then, despite the fact I was still in my 30s, I had a terribly closed mind and was dismissive of rap, hip hop and grunge. Needless to say, I missed out on a lot of great music for nearly 20 years until I began opening up my mind in the early 2010s. Being EclecticMusicLover, I’m now open to all kinds and genres of music and have come to appreciate rap, hip hop, grunge, death metal and Country – all genres I refused to listen to for years.

    I’m now listening to ‘Illmatic’ and really like how NAS melds jazz and R&B with hip hop. 1990s rap and hip hop was much better than a lot of crap being produced today, though there are still some great artists like Anderson .Paak, Kendrick Lamar, Run the Jewels and Bakar putting out great stuff. Nice choice and write-up.

    • Nas is one of the artists who produced an amazing debut and then has struggled a little with it overshadowing everything else he’s done. I’m not a huge hip hop listener but I’m young enough that it was part of the musical landscape when I was growing up – I’ve never thought I question its merit as music. I tend not to like stuff that’s too crass or sweary because I’m a bit of a prude, but there’s still lots of great stuff.

  6. Nas is one of the artists who produced an amazing debut and then has struggled a little with it overshadowing everything else he’s done. I’m not a huge hip hop listener but I’m young enough that it was part of the musical landscape when I was growing up – I’ve never thought I question its merit as music. I tend not to like stuff that’s too crass or sweary because I’m a bit of a prude, but there’s still lots of great stuff.

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