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Editors’ Notes

Illmatic is so frequently saddled with the mantle of “greatest Hip-Hop album of all time” that it can be difficult for the first time listener to approach it without trepidation. Happily Illmatic is one of those rare albums that deserves all of the critical accolades bestowed upon it. Nineteen-year old MC Nasir Jones maintains an unparalleled level of intensity from the bracing opener “N.Y. State of Mind” right to the final bars of “It Ain’t Hard To Tell”. Nas’ flow is equal parts Rakim-style virtuosity and gritty Kool G. Rap-derived storytelling prowess, but unlike his illustrious predecessors Nas creates a fiercely intelligent (but nonetheless eminently accessible) persona that he maintains and deepens from track to track. From the ruthless philosophizing of “Life’s a Bitch” to the nostalgic sorrow of “Memory Lane” Nas paints a stirringly vivid portrait of life in the Queensbridge projects that other MCs would be imitating for years to come. As if that weren’t enough, Illmatic is laced with some of the finest beats this side of In Control Volume 1, with legends like Large Professor, Pete Rock, and Q-Tip all contributing to the project. An indisputable triumph, Illmatic is a must hear for anyone with even a passing interest in contemporary music.

Customer Reviews

Greatest Album of All Time!!!

"Illmatic" is without a doubt the greatest rap album of all time, by the greatest rapper of all time. Nas' lyrics on this album have never been matched by any rapper on any album, and they might never be. His lyrics are simply amazing, and his flow and wordplay are jaw-dropping and incredibly consistent. The beats are decent, as well as the choruses, but the rhymes are the main focus hear, and they are straight fire. Everybody has at least heard about this album, and if you are a fan of rap AT ALL, you MUST purchase "Illmatic", it is a very large piece of hip hop history!

This album changed my life

This is what got me into hip-hop. There are other great rap albums out there, but I always find myself coming back to this one. There is a kind of classic, timeless quality to Illmatic that I have never heard on any other rap album. While most of them sound dated within about 4 years, Illmatic will always sound fresh to me. The production and lyrics are R&B singers, catchy hooks, or cheesy dances here, just 45 minutes of perfect hip-hop. I seriously challenge anyone who believes hip-hop is all about simple lyrics, crappy, primitive production, posing, and "thug lyfe" to listen to this album. It totally changed my mind about hip-hop, and I'm sure it'll change yours as well. If you're a hip-hop fan and you haven't heard this, well...shame on you.

A classic

Illmatic and Reasonable Doubt best albums of the 90's who agrees they need to get the full albums


Born: September 14, 1973 in Long Island, NY

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Beginning with his classic debut, Illmatic (1994), Nas stood tall for years as one of New York City's leading rap voices, outspokenly expressing a righteous, self-empowered swagger that endeared him to critics and hip-hop purists. Whether proclaiming himself "Nasty Nas" or "Nas Escobar" or "Nastradamus" or "God's Son," the self-appointed King of New York battled numerous adversaries for his position atop the epicenter of East Coast rap, none more challenging than Jay-Z, who vied with Nas for the...
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