“Who did you make [‘Illmatic’] for?
Nas: ‘My surroundings. The hip-hop community, also, and to be Number 1 — the Number 1 MC, the Number 1 rapper. Most of us are out to be the best. So that meant I made it for other rappers, I made it for other MCs, I made it for other hip-hop groups. I made it for artists, singers, people in the arts — that's who I made it for. But it comes from the street, so my surroundings wrote that album. I made it for them. It's the theme — it's the theme songs for my surroundings when I made that album, right. These albums was all written and produced by the streets, in a large sense.’”
25 years ago, in 1994, Nas, together with some of the greatest producers in hip hop, made his debut album, ‘Illmatic’.
Nas painted a lyrical picture of life for a young man in the Queens Bridge over the very best of “boom-bap” instrumentation, producing a piece of poetic depth that stands the test of time.
In the fourth episode of our podcast series with Zero Point Fiction, we explore the qualities that make this album a classic and reflect on its legacy and continued relevance. Listen to the episode iTunes and Spotify, or stream it.