Newest Review: ... life on the street and his experiences of shootings and death, but he doesn't glorify the violence or make it sound like he is a player, h... more
A full blown rap classic
Illmatic - Nas
Member Name: huggy2009
Illmatic - Nas
Advantages: Great rhymes, great stories, great attitude
The Illmatic IS Nasir Jones' debut album and as a statement of intent it is one of the greatest rap albums of all time. Nas is a New York native and this album allows him to rap about growing up in a New York project, however what makes this album stand apart from the competition is the eloquence and hope in Nas' lyrics.
The album comes across as a mix of street poetry and uplifting rap, Nas talks about the struggles of life on the street and his experiences of shootings and death, but he doesn't glorify the violence or make it sound like he is a player, he talks about the violence, why it has happened and the effects and devastation it leaves. This is a wonderful counterpoint to the mindless gangster rap which was prevalent at the time, mindlessly apeing the superior NWA and Public Enemy but with less imagination.
Nas takes rap back to its roots with some fantastic samples and the use of Jazz musicians such as his father (who he uses to wonderful effect on the evocative 'Lifes a Bitch'.
This album was critically acclaimed and songs like New York State of Mind with its horrible slice of ghetto life provide a truly realistic slice of the big apple. Samples of Michael Jackson on It Ain't Hard to Tell and 'One love' is all about the guys who never made it and includes Q Tip from a Tribe Called Quest are highlights.
The samples on the album are delicious and thumping, the dj provides a solid beat throughout, whilst Nas is intelligent, thoughtful and utterly real in every sentence, the album includes 'Represent' a fantastic rap battle, other great tunes include 'The World is Yours' and 'Half Time', the album is a great counterpoint to Jay-Z albums of the time which are all about the money and women and glamorise the lifestyle much more seriously.
Nas took music back to rap and has since created a genre which is inhabited by more intelligent rappers, this album is thoughtful, heartfelt and honest and deserves all of its plaudits.
Summary: A full blown rap classic