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Nas|Illmatic

Illmatic

Nas

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Often cited as one of the best hip-hop albums of the '90s, Illmatic is the undisputed classic upon which Nas' reputation rests. It helped spearhead the artistic renaissance of New York hip-hop in the post-Chronic era, leading a return to street aesthetics. Yet even if Illmatic marks the beginning of a shift away from Native Tongues-inspired alternative rap, it's strongly rooted in that sensibility. For one, Nas employs some of the most sophisticated jazz-rap producers around: Q-Tip, Pete Rock, DJ Premier, and Large Professor, who underpin their intricate loops with appropriately tough beats. But more importantly, Nas takes his place as one of hip-hop's greatest street poets -- his rhymes are highly literate, his raps superbly fluid regardless of the size of his vocabulary. He's able to evoke the bleak reality of ghetto life without losing hope or forgetting the good times, which become all the more precious when any day could be your last. As a narrator, he doesn't get too caught up in the darker side of life -- he's simply describing what he sees in the world around him, and trying to live it up while he can. He's thoughtful but ambitious, announcing on "N.Y. State of Mind" that "I never sleep, 'cause sleep is the cousin of death," and that he's "out for dead presidents to represent me" on "The World Is Yours." Elsewhere, he flexes his storytelling muscles on the classic cuts "Life's a Bitch" and "One Love," the latter a detailed report to a close friend in prison about how allegiances within their group have shifted. Hip-hop fans accustomed to 73-minute opuses sometimes complain about Illmatic's brevity, but even if it leaves you wanting more, it's also one of the few '90s rap albums with absolutely no wasted space. Illmatic reveals a great lyricist in top form meeting great production, and it remains a perennial favorite among serious hip-hop fans.
© Steve Huey /TiVo

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1
The Genesis Explicit
00:01:45

Nas, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - N/A, Producer - Nasir Jones, Composer, Lyricist - Freddy Braithwaite, Composer, Lyricist

(P) 1994 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

2
N.Y. State of Mind Explicit
00:04:54

Nas, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - Nasir Jones, Composer, Lyricist - Christopher Martin, Composer, Lyricist - DJ Premier for Works of Mart Productions, Producer - Eddie Sancho, Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer

(P) 1994 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

3
Life's a Bitch Explicit
00:03:30

Nas, Associated Performer, Co-Producer, Main Artist, Associated Performer, Co-Producer - L.E.S., Producer - Nasir Jones, Composer, Lyricist - A.Z. - Anthony Cruz, Composer, Lyricist - Olu Dara, Composer, Lyricist, Trumpet - Ronnie Wilson, Composer, Lyricist - Oliver Scott, Composer, Lyricist

(P) 1994 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

4
The World Is Yours Explicit
00:04:50

Nas, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - N. Jones, Composer, Lyricist - Pete Rock for Mecca and The Soul Brother Productions, Inc., Producer - P. Phillips, Composer, Lyricist

(P) 1994 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

5
Halftime Explicit
00:04:20

Nas, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - Nasir Jones, Composer, Lyricist - The Large Professor for Paul Sea Productions, Inc., Producer - Kevin Reynolds, Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer - Paul Mitchell, Composer, Lyricist - Gary Byrd, Composer, Lyricist

(P) 1994 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

6
Memory Lane (Sittin' in da Park) Explicit
00:04:08

Nas, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - Nasir Jones, Composer, Lyricist - Christopher Martin, Composer, Lyricist - DJ Premier for Works of Mart Productions, Producer - Eddie Sancho, Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer - Peg Barsella, Composer, Lyricist - Reuben Wilson, Composer, Lyricist

(P) 1994 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

7
One Love Explicit
00:05:25

Nas, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - Jonathan Davis, Composer, Lyricist - Q-Tip for A Tribe Called Quest, Inc., Producer - Nasir Jones, Composer, Lyricist - T. Latham, Engineer - Jimmy Heath, Composer, Lyricist

(P) 1994 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

8
One Time 4 Your Mind Explicit
00:03:18

Nas, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - Nasir Jones, Composer, Lyricist - The Large Professor for Paul Sea Productions, Inc., Producer - Kevin Reynolds, Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer - Paul Mitchell, Composer, Lyricist

(P) 1994 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

9
Represent Explicit
00:04:12

Nas, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - Nasir Jones, Composer, Lyricist - DJ Premier for Works of Mart Productions, Producer - Eddie Sancho, Mixing Engineer, Recording Engineer - Christopher Martin, Composer, Lyricist

(P) 1994 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

10
It Ain't Hard to Tell Explicit
00:03:22

Nas, Associated Performer, Main Artist, Associated Performer - Nasir Jones, Composer, Lyricist - The Large Professor for Paul Sea Productions, Inc., Producer - Paul Mitchell, Composer, Lyricist - Stan Wallace, Recording Engineer

(P) 1994 Columbia Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

Descrição do álbum

Often cited as one of the best hip-hop albums of the '90s, Illmatic is the undisputed classic upon which Nas' reputation rests. It helped spearhead the artistic renaissance of New York hip-hop in the post-Chronic era, leading a return to street aesthetics. Yet even if Illmatic marks the beginning of a shift away from Native Tongues-inspired alternative rap, it's strongly rooted in that sensibility. For one, Nas employs some of the most sophisticated jazz-rap producers around: Q-Tip, Pete Rock, DJ Premier, and Large Professor, who underpin their intricate loops with appropriately tough beats. But more importantly, Nas takes his place as one of hip-hop's greatest street poets -- his rhymes are highly literate, his raps superbly fluid regardless of the size of his vocabulary. He's able to evoke the bleak reality of ghetto life without losing hope or forgetting the good times, which become all the more precious when any day could be your last. As a narrator, he doesn't get too caught up in the darker side of life -- he's simply describing what he sees in the world around him, and trying to live it up while he can. He's thoughtful but ambitious, announcing on "N.Y. State of Mind" that "I never sleep, 'cause sleep is the cousin of death," and that he's "out for dead presidents to represent me" on "The World Is Yours." Elsewhere, he flexes his storytelling muscles on the classic cuts "Life's a Bitch" and "One Love," the latter a detailed report to a close friend in prison about how allegiances within their group have shifted. Hip-hop fans accustomed to 73-minute opuses sometimes complain about Illmatic's brevity, but even if it leaves you wanting more, it's also one of the few '90s rap albums with absolutely no wasted space. Illmatic reveals a great lyricist in top form meeting great production, and it remains a perennial favorite among serious hip-hop fans.
© Steve Huey /TiVo

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