April 19th 1994, the day hip-hop changed and this week marks the 20th anniversary of the hip-hop classic album Illmatic by Nas. April 15th, Nas released Illmatic XX, the reissue of his ground breaking album.
The reissue features the original 10 great tracks plus, rare remixes, unreleased demos, and freestyles.
The fact that the album is celebrated 20 years on speaks volumes of the quality of Ilmatic and Nas. No special features, 10 fantastic tracks, great producers and a young New York rapper’s first album. Illmatic made history in the hip-hop game. One of the only few albums to be celebrated and remembered several years after it’s release.
“My first album had no famous guest appearances the outcome, I’m was crowned the best lyricist”
Although it wasn’t a commercial success, the creation of Illmatic changed the hip-hop scene, through how albums were produced, how stories were created, rappers flows and even through the album artwork created by rappers in the future. In USA today Nas was quoted saying:
“I think I was a real serious guy at a young age,” says Nas. “I was a kid who came up in the ‘80s, and I was into always writing, and then rap came into my life. So when I look back now, it all makes sense – this is what I was supposed to do.”
Illmatic is seen as the benchmark for rappers if they want to be a great.“It’s not an illmatic” will be a phrase which will haunt many rappers, including Nas. This album will continue grow and influence musicians and will remain immortal as an undeniable classic.
For hip-hop, we salute you Nas! And if you’ve always wanted your own Illmatic artwork, go to Nas’ Illmatic XX website to create your own Illmatic cover:
Illmatic XX Tracklist:
Disc 1: Remastered original album
01. The Genesis
02. N.Y. State Of Mind
03. Life’s A Bitch
04. The World Is Yours
06. Memory Lane (Sittin’ In Da Park)
07. One Love
08. One Time 4 Your Mind
10. It Ain’t Hard To Tell
Disc 2: Demos, Remixes & Live Radio
01. I’m A Villain (previously unreleased)
02. The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show on WKCR October 28, 1993 (previously unreleased freestyle)
03. Halftime (Butcher Remix)
04. It Ain’t Hard To Tell (Remix) (promo single)
05. One Love (LG Main Mix)
06. Life’s A Bitch (Arsenal Mix) (promo single)
07. One Love (One L Main Mix)
08. The World Is Yours (Tip Mix)
09. It Ain’t Hard To Tell (The Stink Mix) (UK single)
10. It Ain’t Hard To Tell (The Laidback Remix) (UK single)