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Nas Reflects On “Illmatic” 30th Anniversary

Thanks to his collaborations with Hit-Boy, Nas has been experiencing a creative resurgence lately. These partnerships have revitalized his career and showcased his exceptional lyrical abilities. Because of his continued relevance, he no longer needs to rely on his past successes to attract listeners. However, when it comes to an Illmatic album, it’s a different story. As the album’s 30th anniversary approaches, Nas has taken some time to reflect on creating what is widely regarded as his masterpiece—the 1994 classic.

Nas Reflects On &Quot;Illmatic&Quot; 30Th Anniversary, Yours Truly, News, May 23, 2024

On Instagram, Nas shared some old pictures of the men who influenced his project. The photos are grainy, as the rapper mentions in his caption, but the faces are so iconic that they’re still easily recognizable. In the pictures, Nas stands alongside New York legends such as Pete Rock, DJ Premier, Large Professor, LES, and Q-Tip. In the second photo, Nas stands beside his friend, the only featured artist on Illmatic, AZ. The “One Love” rapper shouted at each man in the pictures. In the caption, Nas wrote,

“Grainy pictures for grainy times,”

“I had a dream I could get my favorite producers to produce on my debut album,”. “I knew exactly what I wanted and how it should be. On April 19, we smashed s**t. Even tho the album leaked months before the release date, we still are a part of music history.”

“Thank you to everyone involved,”

“Friday is the albums 30th. 2 The Listeners- ONE LOVE.”

Nas, the acclaimed American rapper, has had to grapple with the unrelenting comparison of his later works to his landmark debut album, Illmatic. Despite the pressure, Nas has shared that he considers Illmatic a distinct creation that has extended beyond his broader musical catalogue. In a 2014 interview with Clash, Nas explained that he views Illmatic as a separate entity in certain aspects. Regardless of Nas’ sense of authorship, Illmatic has stood the test of time and is still widely considered his magnum opus.

“It’s interesting because that’s bigger than me,”

“It’s something that I look at and it trips me out a little bit. I just think about it and, with certain artists that I like, I like some of their works more than the others and I only want to hear certain albums. It’s just the way things are.”

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