Nas – “illmatic” review

After hyping people up with his verse on “Live at the Barbeque” by the Main Source just a few years prior, Queens MC Nas finally comes through with his full-length debut. The lyrics are ambitious ghetto shit & the boom bap production enhances bring these well written rhymes to life. The album really starts off with “N.Y. State of Mind” (the first verse on here is one of my favorite verses in hip hop history), where Nas talks life in N.Y. over one of DJ Premier’s best beats. On “Life’s a Bitch”, Nas and AZ reflect on how rough life is & the trumpet solo (provided by Nas’ father Olu Dara) is really smooth. On The World is Yours (one of my favorite hip hop songs period), Nas spits about some real life shit over a flawless beat from Pete Rock. The track “Memory Lane (Sittin’ in da Park)” has Nas getting reminiscent over a laid-back beat from Preemo. The track 1 Love is basically a message to 3 people who were in prison at the time (including Cormega) but he does it in a vivid way & makes it heartfelt. On “One Time for Your Mind”, Nas compares & contrasts himself from when he was inexperienced up until this certain point in his career over a jazzy beat from Large Professor. And what better way to close out the album with the triumphant sounding “It Ain’t Hard to Tell”? Overall, this is how a hip hop album should be. I know most people would rank it as the greatest hip hop album of all-time but for me, I’d say it’s Eric B. & Rakim’s debut Paid in Full. However, I still consider this to be an essential album for those who wanna get into hip hop

Score: 5/5

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