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29 Years Ago Today, Nas Released His Debut Studio Album ‘Illmatic’

Hip-Hop pioneer Nas, born Nasir Jones, released his debut studio album “Illmatic” 29 years ago today. Released on April 19th 1994, the cult magnum opus established his stature as a young East Coast Rap pioneer at the time.

Recorded in New York City, the album was produced by the legendary emcee’s mentor Large Professor, DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Q-Tip of ‘The Tribe Called Quest’ and Nas himself.

The album, which traversed 10 East Coast Hip-Hop classics, was named after Nas’ incarcerated friend at the time Illmatic Ice. He further described the LP as “supreme ill. It’s as ill as ill gets. That shit is a science of everything ill.” Nas was just 21 at the time.

Illmatic LP is home to cult rap records including “N.Y. State of Mind”, “The World is Yours”, “Half Time”, “Represent”, “It Ain’t Hard to Tell”, “Life’s a Bitch” feat. AZ and “The Genesis”. The album had a profound impact on rap music across the globe and established Nas’ longevity in rap music which continues to this day.

During a conversation with The Source magazine, Nas spoke about the intent behind the record. “this feels like a big project that’s gonna affect the world […] We in here on the down low […] doing something for the world. That’s how it feels, that’s what it is. For all the ones that think it’s all about some ruff shit, talkin’ about guns all the time, but no science behind it, we gonna bring it to them like this,” the pioneer said.

Listen to the iconic rap record ‘Illmatic’ by Nas here.