Nas, the aspiring MC and Queens native, burst onto the hip-hop scene with his groundbreaking debut album, Illmatic. With its nimble poetry, savage beats and unblinking view of life, the album was hailed as an instant classic and set the tone for East Coast rap for years to come. And, of course, Nas himself is now a totem for hip-hop purists.
Twenty years on and the same guy is the focus of Time Is Illmatic, multimedia artist One9's new documentary which follows the trajectory of the rapper's 1994 landmark debut album. "We had a beautiful home inside ... but outside were like shots going off every night," says Nas in a new trailer for the movie. "I gave you what the streets felt like, sounded like, tasted like."
He continues "When I made Illmatic, I was trying to make the perfect album. It comes from the days of Wild Style. I was trying to make you experience my life. I wanted you to look at hip-hop differently. I wanted you to feel that hip-hop was changing and becoming something more real."
The film will be opening this year's Tribeca Film Festival and is set for an Oct. 1 release, followed by Nas' Time Is Illmatic tour. Here's the trailer:
... And the official NAS: Time Is Illmatic synopsis:
Twenty years after the release of Nass groundbreaking debut album Illmatic, NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC takes us into the heart of his creative process. Returning to his childhood home in Queensbridge, Nas shares stories of his upbringing, his influences from the music of his jazz musician father Olu Dara to the burgeoning hip-hop scene in New York City and the obstacles he faced before his major label signing at age 20. Featuring interviews with his Illmatic producers Large Professor, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, L.E.S., and DJ Premier and musical peers including Pharrell Williams and Alicia Keys, NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC is a thrilling account of Nass evolution from a young street poet to a visionary MC.
As a 20-year-old upstart, Nas had the persona of the beer-swigging, weed-smoking, high-school dropout whose poetry pierces through the gloom of his surroundings. There are very few MC's that you can say have had a social, political, and cultural impact the way Nas has with the release of Illmatic. And there is no better platform to showcase the importance of the landmark album than the Tribeca Film Festival.
I will DEFINITELY be watching Time Is Illmatic, will you?