Illmatic is the debut studio album by American rapper Nas. It was released on April 19, 1994, by Columbia Records. After signing with the label with the help of MC Serch, Nas recorded the album in 1992 and 1993 at Chung King Studios, D&D Recording, Battery Studios, and Unique Recording Studios in New York City. The album's production was handled by DJ Premier, Large Professor, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, L.E.S., and Nas himself. Styled as a hardcore hip hop album, Illmatic features multi-syllabic internal rhymes and inner-city narratives based on Nas' experiences growing up in the Queensbridge Houses in Queens, New York City. The album debuted at number 12 on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 63,000 copies in its first week. However, its initial sales fell below expectations and its five singles failed to achieve significant chart success. Despite the album's low initial sales, Illmatic received rave reviews from most music critics, who praised its production and Nas' lyricism. On January 17, 1996, the album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, and on December 11, 2001, it earned a platinum certification after shipping 1,000,000 copies in the United States. As of February 6, 2019, the album had sold 2 million copies in the United States. Since its initial reception, Illmatic has been recognized by writers and music critics as a landmark album in East Coast hip hop. Its influence on subsequent hip hop artists has been attributed to the album's production and Nas' lyricism. It also contributed to the revival of the New York City rap scene, introducing a number of stylistic trends to the region. The album is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential hip hop albums of all time, appearing on numerous best album lists by critics and publications. Billboard wrote in 2015 that "Illmatic is widely seen as the best hip-hop album ever". In 2020, the album was ranked by Rolling Stone at number 44 on its list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and in 2021, it was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Recording Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".Wikipedia
So, I never really listened to Nas much before today. And I'm decently versed with most hiphop. Nas just never really appealed to me, though. Luckily for me, this project is forcing me to listen to things that don't appeal to me because Nas really IS an extremely talented rapper. His rhyme game is on point. The constantly interweaving internal rhyme schemes are out of control and really unexpected for an east-coast act in '94. According to the wiki article, it kinda started with him. Well, thanks Nas. Docked a star because, while the lyricism is off the chain, the content is ... repetitive and shallow (though still better than 99% of the east-coast rap of the time).
An absolute classic If hip-hop is supposed to be a window into the streets, ILLMATIC sounds, feels, and even fucking SMELLS like NYC in the '90s. When the war against the Disney-fication of NY was still being waged. By 1994 hip-hop was nationwide but Nas grabbed the mantle and brought it back home.
I ain't got time for this, know what I'm sayin'?
One of the best hip hop albums I've ever listened to, the beats are real crisp, the samples and scratches are mega cool, and the vocals are just amazing, this is a must for every hip hop fan out there
Greatest Hip/Hop album of all time, not much else to say about it.
Album #1 Although I've rinsed this album from start to finish many times when it came up as the first one to listen to I was more than happy to dive in again. There is nothing I can say about how great this album is that hasn't already been said by droves of people far more qualified than me. If anyone who doesn't listen to much hip-hop asks me where they should start, this is the first album I point them to. Few albums receive the privilege of acting as a benchmark for their genre, and that is exactly what Illmatic does for hip-hop. This benchmark applied even more so in '94 when the genre was still young and proving itself. On Illmatic, everything comes together perfectly. From the soulful yet raw beats to the poignant yet infectiously addictive flows. They work in tandem to weave a story of a city frozen at a point in time and one young man's place within it. Favourite Track: Memory Lane (Sittin' in da Park) Least Favourite Track: N/A
I was really unaware of this album, or the history of it or Nas. Maybe he is too cerebral for mass consumption or radio play? His lyrics and rap rhythm are masterclass. But I found the album boring; it all ran together. No doubt he has different beats and samples but moving from song to song there wasn't one thing I could really point to in one that made it stand out from another one. The album works but once I walk away from it, there's nothing particularly memorable to bring me back.
Listened to on 5/2/22 2.5/5 Favorite song: halftime, it ain’t too hard to tell Things I like about this album: the naming of songs (genesis, halftime) but it’s truly just not my vibe although I liked it better than most hip hop/rap albums
Didn’t like it - too hardcore for me.
Too aggressive. I’m not a fan personally
Yo… yo… yo… yo… motherfunsters! Nah. Not for me.
Only thirty seconds. I don't like this style
If I never hear this again I will die happy.
Rap... not my style.
Meh, more rap
Not my cup of tea
I don't like exactly this rap
Why was this not considered gangster rap? I read it supposedly show the NYC rap scene as still relevant compared to the West Coast scene of "gangsta rap". But the lyrical content seems basically the same.
Not really much to say about this classic slice of east coast hip hop except how ace it is. Top 5 hip hop off all time
Wish I'd listened to it before now
ok basically back on schedule now! been putting this album off for a while because tbh i was scared i wouldnt "get it" (hip hop is still not quite my genre of choice) but nah this bangs. mr nas raps way too fast for me to get everything hes saying but like the rapping is great and the beats are also really good so who cares? and when i can make out the lyrics theyre pretty great. lifes a bitch is basically perfect. not every beat hits it outta the park for me (one love) but its still fairly consistent just bc nas is really fucking good the entire time. dont get the love for the genesis though. feels like a bit of a superfluous intro. mayb i simply dont get it.
1994. Key Songs: Life's a Bitch, N.Y State of Mind, Halftime, One Love
Instant classic, from the day it was released. Not a bad track on here. Best hip-hop album of all-time? Best album of all-time?
one of the most flawless albums of all time
One of the GOATs
Fantastic album through and through, one of my all-time favorites.
Nas was 19 when he wrote this album - the talent. This was the beginning of east coast rap as it is today. Thank you Nas! Side note, I saw him play most of this album at Gov Ball in 2013.
heard many times - my personal number 1 rap album of all time.
A true hip-hop classic. One of the top ten greatest rap albums ever conceived. .
There's just something about this type of old-school rap that's so easy to listen to
Old School Rap. Rootz!
Album pilier du rap américain Excellente production Des flows incroyables Intemporel
perfectly balanced and smooth. as good as rap gets. fav track: it ain’t hard to tell
One of the best. Collabs are on point. I feel like this is the transition album between old school and new school.
Straight fire. I see where a Nas has influenced a ton of rappers. Beats were great.
Love this album
Classic hip hop. Great album
I see why this is a classic. The beats. The samples. Nas has a great flow and great word play.
No notes necessary
Probably a top 10 rap album all time. Nas is one of the great storytellers and wordsmiths of rap with a buttery smooth flow. Love this album.
Honestly didn’t even listen to it for this.
Not usually a big rap listener, but I really enjoyed this album. Great beats and lyrics.
its illmatic, one of the best rap albums ever
One of the greatest albums of all time. One of my personal faves and overall flawless. Lots of nostalgia everytime I hear a song from this album. Lyricism is amazing!
Simply one of the greatest albums ever, hip-hop or otherwise.
Oh man, what an album! One of the best hip-hop records of all time! Even if you don’t like hip-hop this is worth a listen.
"I rap for listeners, blunt heads, fly ladies and prisoners" Escuchar este disco es visualizarse en un auto, ventanas bajas cruzando el Bronx, literalmente donde nació el rap. No culpo en lo más mínimo a la gente que dice que Illmatic es el mejor disco de rap de la historia o el lugar donde comenzó la era dorada del género. Soul, funk, jazz. Este disco lo tiene (y samplea) todo. Cierra de principio a fin. Si bien fue producido en conjunto con un montón de productores es notoria la contribución de Q-Tip, proveyendo carácter y personalidad a la voz de Nassir. El flow y el sonido de este disco solo se compara con un grupo muy selecto de discos de la época/genero. Es rarísimo mirar atrás y decir que las letras de este disco son las más… ¿Educadas? Nas tiene esa capacidad de demostrar lo horrible de vivir en un ghetto y a su vez señalar la esperanza de salir, o de vivir en uno. Por supuesto que todo se vuelve full circle cuando lo comparás con discos que venían de la otra cosa como el amado The Cronicle de Dr. Dre. No hay notas adicionales, el disco lo dice todo y más. Si querés hacer un viaje por los gigantes del rap, Illmatic va a estar entre las 3 primeras paradas que quieras hacer.
What a wonderful album. Possibly one of my favorite beats/samples in the last track. So many dissertations have been written about how great this album is. What else is there to say?
Great album front to back. Pentacle of hip hop
Nas is a legend.
Terrible discazo, la produccion me encanto, tiene buenas liricas, esta excelentemente rapeado. 5/5
damn this one slaps! NY State of mind is a stone cold classic, I really like the mixing and that flow! again, damn!
Insane he pulled this off his debut, I mean the production alone Is stacked. The cover is literally one of the first images in my head when I hear “hip hop”
Stonewall CLASSIC hip hop album. Legendary album.
Absolutely fantastic and an obvious classic. This album paints such vivid pictures of New York that it feels like a movie. Beats, rapping, flows, storytelling, everything is about as good as it can be. Insane record.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion about music, and this includes Illmatic. But I hold strongly that Nas's debut album, Illmatic, is the greatest and most important hip-hop album of all time. I cannot and will not dispute this. It goes hard. The sampling and the beats, Nas's flow on each song, the lyrics, the whole product. It's the combination of Boom Bap production with hardcore lyrics and flow. But the lyrics aren't just braggadocious or tough, they're a reflection of reality. Nas was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Queens, later dropping out of school and fully immersing himself in music. Nas, of course, is a natural wordsmith and lyricist. His cadence along with the depth of the bars elevates the art of rap to a multi-dimensional instrument. Each song stands on their own, you can tell that love and care went into the album as a whole. It is not a product of commerce, but of passion. Incredibly impactful and insanely catchy, Illmatic is an all-timer.
När jag i mellanstadiet ville bredda mina musikhorisonter och lyssna på något annat än Eminem, läste jag på internet om Nas' Illmatic, och hur den beskrevs som en "hip-hopbibel". Sedan dess har albumet följt mig. Jag återkommer alltid till det efter några månader, inte för att det påverkat eller betytt särskilt mycket för mig, utan för att jag vet att när jag slår på Illmatic har jag 40 minuter ren kvalité framför mig. Varje låt, varje beat, varje rad är så nära perfektion man kan komma i hip-hop. Detta trots att Nas i vad som kanske är tidernas bästa hip-hoplåt, N.Y. State of Mind, inför första versen lägger in en brasklapp: "I don't know how to start this shit, yo...". Albumet är perfekt rakt igenom, men extra bra är ovan nämnda N.Y. State of Mind (såklart), Life's a Bitch, One Love, och Represent. Straight out the fuckin' dungeons of rap! Bästa låt: N.Y. State of Mind.
Straight classic in the rap genre. Biting, intense lyricism and amazing crisp production and beats.
OK! I liked this the first time through. Liked it even more the second time through. Yep, the music is catchy, the rhymes are clever. All the talk of M-16s, M-10s, .9s, and the threat of death or prison makes me viscerally anxious, so I'm not sure if I'll listen to it regularly (and I acknowledge the privilege that I have that allows me to say and do that). But this is a great album and I can see why it's on this list.
A Hip-hop Classic
Classic for a reason. 9/10
haven't listened to a lot of 90s rap, i enjoyed it
This album brought back memories of when I used to hustle on the streets of Brooklyn. 1. I have never been to New York. 2. I have never hustled on the streets.
It's Illmatic by Nas. The best rap album of all time. Nas's lyrics are so slick that they slide off his tongue and spread like an oil spill in your brain, and the beats from the best craftsmen in the game (QTip, Large Professor, Premier, Pete Rock, L.E.S.) back him up so perfectly that they feel like a part of him, a natural extension of his craft. The album might honestly have the best three song run in hip-hop history. It should be illegal to follow New York State of Mind with Life's a Bitch and The World Is Yours, and the album never stops from there. Poignant slice of life tales on Memory Lane and One Love give the album an emotional through line and enhance the heady blend of ambition and apathy, power and weakness, joy and tragedy that defines the life of Nasty Nas. Represent is similarly incredible, with a hungry and passionate Nas giving it his all. It Ain't Hard to Tell, One Time 4 Your Mind, and Halftime are the only "subpar" tracks, meaning that they're 8/10 instead of perfect 10s and above like the rest of the record, but they all deliver standout moments and are probably the favorites of many listeners. This album is a touchstone of hip-hop, as Nas's measured, neverending flow and poignant, deadly lyrical skills either directly or indirectly inspired B.I.G., a future rival in Jay-Z, and countless other rappers. His lines have been reused countless times, and every contemporary hoping to make his or her bones in the game pays homage at some point to the album. It isn't rap's most important album, but it's the best there ever was.
The best rap album ever. No skits, no filler tracks, only 1 excellent guest verse. Every best sounds classic, Nas is on fire beginning to end. NY state of mind and the 2nd verse on memory lane especially are my favourites
IM OUT FOR DEAD PRESIDENTS TO REPRESENT ME
5.0 + Sleek and ferocious with smooth jazz samples and non-stop bars. Arguably the pinnacle of New York hip hop, and any hip hop ever.
One of the best albums ever made and the album that got me into hip-hop. even the opener skit is one of the best skits ever made. razer sharp flows, inventive rhyme schemes, dusty beats and some of the best storytelling in music history. Nas basically became a GOAT contender right out of the gate. Of course the all star cast of boom bap producers played a huge part in the seamless, timeless quality of this record too
I’m not surprised how much I still like this.
Probably on my list of 10 greatest hip hop albums ever. What can you say that hasn't been said. Classic, no skips.
Best hip-hop album of all time.
the greatest debut album in hip hop
One of the greatest and most influential rap albums of all time. The classic beats and smooth flow from Nas make it a classic.
Undisputed classic. No wasted space.
I love this album. Hip hop / rap at its best. I will be honest and say this is not my type of music. This has really changed my mind on the whole genre. The laid grooves really set it off
Hotter than a Manilla tic’s bite, I liked this much more than expected. Uncomplicated and easy to listen to
One of the best ever
legendary and foundational album
It's as good as everyone has said. This album is 27 years old!!! It blends "street" rap with the trip-hop/horns backing and beats and political rap. I'm only on my first listen and suspect it will take many more to fully ingest this. Easy five stars.
One of the greatest rap albums of all time. classic!
East Coast Hip Hop™️
Fantastic rap album by Nas. His first album at such a young age gives an insight to the New York street life. The lyrics are raw and visual. The beats are great and still entertaining today. This album is historical in Nas having it produced by various people. This album is one of the best. 8.9/10
Fantastic. This is one I could listen to over and over. Great lyrics, fantastic beats
Another absolute banger of an album. One of the greatest and most influential hip-hop records of all time, enough ssid
Un de mes album rap pref 5
Arguably the best rap album of all time, Classic flows and classic beats love NY state of mind and around the park. Love how nas is still dropping classics as well with the kings diseases. :)
Rightfully one of the most celebrated rap albums of all time. Top tier beats, flow and lyrics - and no weird, horny skits.
I'm not a big connoisseur of hip-hop, I don't have many references to explain it, but... It's one of the best hip-hop albums of all time, isn't it? It seems to me that the flow of NAS is varied and perfect. The beats are very easy to listen to, not too flashy, but far from being empty and without interest. The man seems to have a lot of vocabulary and he knows how to use it.
Wow, I love it so full of solid songs, but it's seem like it's mostly an album you would listen in the background in a trendy saketeshop or restaurant. Jazzy sample are really nice. Why is it the first time I listen to it from the begining to the end ???
Not a rap/hip-hop enthousiast, but this is top tier stuff. Very nice!
Old school hip hop doesn't get any better than this.
Straight out of the dungeons of rap. An exploration of rap poetry that defines a decade. Superb sampling. Lyrical mastery. Raw realism. One of the greatest albums ever made.
I was only marginally familiar with Nas and never had taken the time to listen to a full album before this was suggested. Really well done all around. Half way through, it hit me how much of A Tribe Called Quest vibe I was feeling, so I was not shocked but deeply satisfied to see Q-tip had a big hand with the album. This will definitely be on regular rotation for me. “Midnight Maurauders” by A Tribe Called Quest kept the groove flowing after listening to Nas.
Absoluter Klassiker, immer wieder gut
Timeless east coast hip hop.
Best Song: N.Y. State of Mind. That low, droning melody that repeats throughout the song is so iconic, and Nas is on another level through the whole track. Worst Song: Life's a Bitch. It's not a terrible song, but maybe a bit overplayed in movies, and it has this spirit of nihilism that I feel very much is not fitting with the rest of the album. Overall: I mean, this is maybe as good as it gets in this genre of rap. Great flow, great features. There's a reason it's considered such a classic. Sure, there are a few slurs that haven't aged well, but I don't think that's enough to sink what is otherwise such a thoughtful and iconic album.
Somehow I missed actually listening to this thing. Seems to be about worth the hype. The low end backs up the bars, and reinforces their sheer density. Probably the best fusion of East Coast sound and jazz that I've heard yet. Deserves a closer listen than I gave it, though.
The lyrical flow is great and works nicely with the samples and beat. But the content isn't much different than other rap albums.
An amazing rap album in every aspect, storytelling , lyrics, beat choice,... no misses one of my favorite hip hop albums 9.3/10
Nas’s flows on this are so good, literally flowing. Just so smooth. The instrumentals aren’t super grand or anything, but they’re groovey and funky, sort of minimalist here and there. Almost lo-fi hip hop/jazz inspired. I think it’s good, I know how influential this was, how big it was and has been since, but I can’t rank it a 5. Would like more hooks, more instrumental changeups, bigger sound. A couple songs that maybe go on 45 seconds too long
Yeeeh. Listen 4 times to this one to try to understand the hype. Sure the rhyme structure is interesting, his flow is nice and the production from prem is tight. For me, I think it lacks any killer hooks and maybe that is the reason I’ve never really got into Nas.
damn decent . ill prolly listen to this as socially acceptable music
Classic album from a classic time in hip-hop.
Good background beats, interesting lyrics.
Very complex rhyming
Old school hip hop
Can definitely see why this is considered one of the best rap albums ever
Has a 'old school' New York feel. Can feel the pain but also filled with hope
Chill! 3.5 rounded up.
Still can't pull out individual tracks but always enjoy listening as a whole
Finally, a rap album! I’m wondering how I’m going to feel about this one, though, as I’m not a big fan of glorifying violence. So I actually liked this one more than I thought I might.
I still have a hard time sitting and listening to rap because the words are a lot like poetry so I always feel like I need to read along. What I picked up from this I liked.
It's a very good classic rap album. For me, these songs could be more strong and the thematic sounds old for modern days, but I respect the historical music from the hip-hop movement.
Its that bridge to modern hip-hop. Halftime is rad. Memory Lane is rad. Aint hard to tell is a great closer
Keine Ahnung, soll ich jetzt wieder das alte Lied anfangen, von wegen früher war HipHop besser, die MCs haben's mehr real gekeeped und von der Consciousness an sich? Naja, aber für mich ganz persönlich/meinen Geschmack war das schon auch so. Auch wenn Nas meinem Lieblings-Flavor nicht durchgehend am nächsten kommt: meinen kross gebratenen Rehspeck kricht er natürlich trotzdem, und kriegen Premier, Large Professor, Q-Tip und die anderen für die Produktion. Für seinen supergechillten Old-Newschool-Flow, für das Selbstbewusstsein (mit 19!), für die klare Artikulation, und für Queensbridge: 4 Punkte
Some lyrics still as poignant today as when they were written which asks questions about how much social progress has really been made
OH HELL YEAH
Enjoyed this, so much that I listened to it twice through without pain
Started out a bit slow, but the 2nd half of the album is all bangers.
A rap album that I actually enjoyed listening to and would consider coming back to if I ever wanted to listen to rap. Fav Track: Halftime
Amazing verses, liked the later songs on the album more than the well known first couple of tracks
Can see why this is so acclaimed, really good tracks and lyrics
Рэп, но хотя бы не раздражает
I was quite enjoying this album, but I did have to listen to it in three goes, as it was a bit much to have blasting at home. From what I've read, illmatic was the first album of its kind, making way for people like dre, Jay z, biggie smalls etc. For this, it definitely deserves to be up there on this list.
It was good
Sick jazzy 90s hip hop
Dope album actually
Good stuff. Beats are solid
Me gustó mucho. No puedo creer que este disco se me escapó cuando me estuve metiendo en Hip Hop de los 90s. En The Genesis, escuché una voz conocida ... el que canta en Public Enemy, puede ser? PD. En "NY State of Mind" dice "The city never sleeps, full of villains and creeps", es contradictorio pero me hace querer un poquito más a NYC 4/5
Slick beats, mean flows, classic album.
A fantastic rap album.
It goes, hard.
Every track has a solid groove, the rhymes are so effortless 8/10
I don't like the language, but the music is phenomenal. What a talent. Really enjoyed this. Listened to it at least three times today and just keeps getting better.
Not a hip hop fan, but holy shit does Nas have the gift of poetry. This didn’t feel like a collection of songs, but a love letter to the gritty New York so many of us grew up in.
Classic as fuck
Love the old school hip hop
I've heard this before, a few years ago. It's a good album, one of the last I know of from before rap started to sound like shit a year or two later. Glad it came up, hit the spot this morning. 4/5.
Great Album. Heard a billion times now but its fire 9/10
Nas never had quite the best beats but he remains probably the best lyricist from the 90s. His Lifes a Bitch verse is my favourite rap verse of all time.
bastante mejor de lo que había esperado si soy sincera.
021121 13:38 4
Haven’t ever listened to Nas before this and this isn't a genre I have much experience with... The rap on this is impressive, albeit with the occasional problematic lyrics. The music has lots of 90s flair, although iI found it was a little stripped down for me as the music and samples could become monotonous. Although I guess maybe that's part of the deal here since the focus is on the rap. I liked listening to this. Although I don't see myself listening to the whole album, there are some songs I will revisit again. Hovering around a 3.5 rating so I guess I'll round it up since the rap is so strong. Favorite songs: “Life’s A Bitch”, "Memory Lane (Sit-in' in da Park)", "Represent", "Ain't Hard To Tell".
I have some familiarity with Nas, but for most of this album, I was a first time listener. I was excited to see a classic hip hop album show up, and I am happy to now be familiar with the studio debut of Nas. I appreciate the artistry of storytelling and rhythm of delivery that Nas has. I also enjoy the musical mixes and beats backing the lyrics. It's good.
Really good but I just wish there had been more variety in the beats 8/10
This album is a fine example of 90s East Coast hiphop.
An instant classic, probably the greatest hip hop album of all time. Highlights for me are N.Y. State of Mind, Halftime, Represent, and It Ain't Hard to Tell
Reminds me of knuckles stages.
Definitely caught and kept my attention. There's a darkness to many of the track's rhythm and harmony that I like. It's not so dark as to be overly dissonant or grating to my ear, and it's not a downer; it's really a texture or layering that I'm feeling. Melodically, it's a bit more interesting to my ear than other rap and hip-hop I've heard. I could almost see the notes climbing up and down the staff as a song progressed, and I don't normally get that kind of visual imagery. Very cool. I'll need to go back to listen again and read the lyrics, too. As someone who loves poetry, I'm hearing some intriguing uses of meter and lyricism. 'Memory Lane' and 'Represent,' among others...I need to dig in. Great album. (Follow-Up: I just scrolled the Wikipedia article; dang, that's a long one! I'll definitely have to read it.)
Solid. Kinda tame beats but words and flow are great
Illmatic is a properly impressive piece of work honestly. He wrote this piece when he was 19 and at that time had more lyrical ability then most rappers would ever achieve honestly. It's a really solid piece of work, but I don't think I'm a huge huge fan of it. I've listened to it a quite a few times, and it's sort of the album that people respect you for listening to. But eh, I don't like it all that much. Could be my southern bias too a certain degree, but I don't think I love it as much as everyone else does.
Jam after jam on this album. I can see why people call it a classic.
Dem New Yawrk beats are fya
Solid album. Fully appreciated the Michael Jackson sample on It Ain't Hard to Tell when listening through.
Abjectly East Coast. Didn't realize NAS came up around Tribe. Harder than Tribe, though.
First time listening to this. I kept having moments where I thought the music sounded familiar but then realized that it's because the rapper Logic seems to copy a ton of Nas's themes. Good album.
Was pretty good and can see why Nas was so influential to others in the future.
Some of it is hit and miss for me, but it's undeniably a great hip hop album. Giving a 4 as it would probably grow on me over time. The last track is my favourite
Illmatic by Nas (1994) Here we have intensely local East Coast hip hop brought to the listener by a variety of producers supporting the considerable talents of 20-year old Nasir Jones, ‘Nas’. With relatively smooth beats, and softly pulsing R&B and jazz keyboards rocking in the background, these tracks are generally free of production gimmicks, tending to focus the lister’s ears on the poetry of the lyrics. And the lyrics are every bit poetic. With a consistent meter that isn’t evident on the printed page, we hear a mature mix of cadence, alliteration, creative visual figures, syncopation, and exquisite internal and external rhyme. Nas delivers his poetry with crisp diction and disciplined spoken tone. It helps to have an ear for urban slang and street life references, but there are resources available to the serious listener who wants to understand (I recommend a critical use of the Genius app). Several nice touches are heard here in the midst of the violence, drugs, and sex, like the outro to “Life’s a Bitch”, with a very nice low register jazz trumpet performance by Olu Dara Jones, Nas’ father. It’s a “keepin’ it real” declamation of the criminal, violent, and drug-saturated facts of life for the young men living in the low-cost high-density habitation of the Queensbridge Houses (‘projects’) on the eastern banks of New York’s East River. Who was the genius who decided to keep these people poor and far from Fifth Avenue but close enough to Manhattan to make a daily commute for doing the dirty work? The unified field theory of 20th century American urban planning is cheap labor. Nas draws vivid pictures of the results. “Life’s a bitch and then you die; that’s why we get high, ‘cause ya never know when you’re gonna go.” “Beyond the walls of intelligence, life is defined; I think of crime when I'm in a New York state of mind.” “My strength, my son, the star will be my resurrection; Born in correction, all the wrong shit I did, he'll lead in right direction.” One may recoil, or wish it away, but this is an integral element of the artistic trajectory of our day. And on this album, it is done well. 4/5
A pretty good album,not up to the standard of the best from Eminem, A Trube Called Quest or Kanye but NY State of mind and Life's a Bitch, Halftime are great. 3.75 stars
Nas is an insane lyricist. This album also serves as a who's who, featuring members of Gang Starr and Tribe all over the record. Still insane all these years later. Plus, front-loaded with some of the best rap tracks ever. Favorite tracks: "New York State of Mind", "The World is Yours", "Memory Lane"
Classic hip hop. I was surprised how few tracks I recognised by name, but knew more of the songs when they came on. NY state of mind and the world is yours were stand outs, but the whole album works well as a piece
Don't feel too qualified to judge, but the tempo and overall feel seems a pivotal moment for hip-hop -- from showier and classic acts to grittier, more specifically urban (i.e., NYC-centric). Pretty ill, indeed. Beats seem very much of the moment. Clear, articulate flows in the rapping, too.
Was all round quite good nothing be to say about it really. 4.35/5
I enjoyed this much more than I anticipated. The lyrics are intelligent and on point. Overall a good listening experience.
В то время звучало интересно, сейчас - нет. 7/10
This is a lyrics-focused album. The beats and the samples are minimal, making the listeners focus on the lyrics, on what the album is narrating. Which is apparently his life in the rough areas of New York City. I love everything about this, the sampling, the vulnerable and not the usual machismo-driven lyrics, and the overall solid length of 30+ minutes. Definitely a classic.
As somebody that is not a big fan of hip hop this was a very enjoyable album to listen to.
Life’s a bitch, and then you die.
Is this why there is Little Nas? And did they coin the phrase “life’s a b and then you die?”
The rap music
Yeah I’m gonna have to listen to this more
Great flow, massively influential
One of the best hip hop records ever Fav tracks: - N.Y. State of Mind - Life's a Bitch - The World Is Yours - Memory Lane Least fav: - One Time 4 Your Mind
Hip hop sweet spot and you don't stop
A brilliant hip hop album, nearly 5/5. The beats a little repetitive though. 9/10
Liked this very much. Well done Mr Nas
Highlights: Halftime, One Time 4 your Mind. Just a great sounding album. Even if you think you don't like the genre, give it a shot.
Some lovely production here. Not listened to this album through before beyond the singles so it was a good day.
Lyrically cannot be beat. Still, I’ve had other Nas songs and lyrics stick with me more. It’s still iconic.
Great East Coast vibes, with Nas's flow and bars top notch. It isn't to my taste as much as some other hip hop may be, but the quality here is undeniable.
Amazing old school real hip hop 4/5
The Genesis: I suppose this is more of an intro to the album, as it's relatively short. I like the music in the background a lot and I would've preferred it had there been no talking over it but I can see the creative intention behind it. (⭐⭐) N.Y. State of Mind: Some of the lyrics really caught my attention. Clever commentary of the life the singer lived in New York. The chorus helps break up the song and make it more digestible, regardless of it just repeating, "New York state of mind." The lyricism is great and I believe that is the strong point of this song. The music is good but I wish it had more rather than just repeating the same melody. (⭐⭐⭐) Life's a Bitch (feat. AZ & Olu Dara): I like the music, it has more to it. The message is clear and the rhyming is great. Overall, not much to say but a good track nonetheless. Wish the chorus wasn't as repetitive, even though only sang twice, it was very jarring and borderline boring. (⭐⭐⭐) The World Is Yours: A lot of the music in this album sounds extremely similar which makes it boring. That could be argued as a choice made to create a cohesive album, but it can also be argued that the same can be done even with different music. Could be much better with different production. The chorus is an upgrade from the chorus in the previous song. Although still repetitive, it has a different melody, which contrasts it from the rest of the song, paired with the interruptions of record scratches and Nas speaking, it makes it a more enjoyable experience. (⭐⭐⭐) Halftime: Off the bat, the music in this one is much more different from the rest which helps make it a standout, even very early in the album. (⭐⭐⭐⭐) Memory Lane (Sittin' in da Park): The rhyming in this one is great and the music is interesting, the background vocals helping add to the feeling. (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐) One Love (feat. Q-Tip): Not much to say but the song was enjoyable. (⭐⭐⭐⭐) One Time 4 Your Mind: I like the break in the song for the short moment of talking. The music is great and, overall, this song is fantastic. (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐) Represent: Super catchy and probably the best off this album. The music has a good amount of variation and the chorus is different enough from the rest of the song to offer a good change in pace. (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐) It Ain't Hard to Tell: Off the bat, a good ending to the album. Has reative music and the lyrics are strong. My only complaint is that it feels a lot shorter than it actually is. (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This album is extremely backloaded, a majority of its most creative and lyrically sound songs are found at the end. The album is cohesive, keeping similar themes throughout the songs to help tie them together. A classic early 90s album for fans of hip hop. The album cover is creative and helps convey the mood of the album off the bat, the cityscape in the background shows New York City, a prominent theme in the album. 3.9/5
Good hip-hop. Powerful lyrics. Maybe not my favourite type of music, but it's a good album nonetheless.
Why does every one have to be a "b***h a$$ mother-f***er?" on this record? Even with Nas' flow going, it still just seemed a LOT to call out everyone like that ALL the TIME. Still, he really had it going. I liked his word play and the groove was really nice. Short album, not skits. Pretty good.
My standard rap disclaimer is that I'm not a rap person so I always listen with an ear from someone who doesn't listen to this genre regularly. I loved this. The beats felt fresh and the lyrics were great and Nas' flow was fantastic.
so far its a pretty solid record all around, theres some forgettable verses/choruses although tracks like the world is yours is absolutely amazing but i guess we already know that. a lot of this record is just me thinking “yeah this sounds great” but just nothing stands out as just mindblowing like everyone hypes it up to be. a lot of other hip hop artists from ny in the 90’s give his messages with much better flow lyics and delivery but not to knock down this record, it does deserve the hype it gets and i can see why people say its amazing, it just doesnt stand out to me personally like something like enter the wu tang, the low end theory, or midnight marauders for example did. as i said early though solid record
Another classic. In my collection
Slusljiv hip hop '90
A classic but not my favorite type of hip hop
Så nära att vara en femma
This was very 90s. I enjoyed it.
Real solid, great working music.
Understand why Nas is known as such a legend, life's a bitch and then you die.
4.5/5. It's Illmatic.
Needs more listens, not as good as I thought it would be.
im 100% sure one of my friends remixed the vocal stems from this but im p sure they removed the remix
Nas oli teininä yksi parhaista! Edelleen lepposaa räbää ja muutaman kerran pyöri ympäri.
Classic album but I'm not super into it
I know this is a very good album but I just didn't enjoy listening to it
Is this really THAT good like.
Not really my cup of tea.
Fav: Life's a Bitch
L'album contiene diversi pezzi che sono rimasti dei classici del genere, i testi sono interessanti descrivono una realtà tanto cruda quanto desensazionalizzata. Le basi sono molto orecchiabili
Strong. Great attitude and energy. Strong lyrical content and i'm into Nas' rapping style.
Love 90s rap way more than modern rap. Did enjoy this, but not something I'd listen to on the regs
Nonostante non ascolti solitamente il genere ho veramente apprezzato l'album, basi solide ed interessanti su cui la voce interagisce bene. Per aprezzarlo meglio sarebbe probabilmente bene ascoltarlo con il testo così da capire tutte le rime
I appreciate it for what it is, but not my style. David really liked it. Life's a bitch then you die
Another one of those classic 90's hip-hop albums that I didn't care about back in the day, but that prove to be really good works of art.
Le basi sono molto interessanti e da profano del genere posso dire di aver adorato i testi e al contempo di non averli capiti appieno. Si tratta di una cultura troppo lontana dalla mia e senza approfondimento sono convinto si perda molto.
According to Wiki Nas is a brilliant poet lyricist and this is one of the greatest and most influential hip hop albums of all time. I think I would have appreciated more if I had listened more carefully and not just had it playing in the background while I worked. The lyrics may have been great but the beats were just ok.
Cool 90s East coast hip hop. Not my thing, but you can feel the musicality and quality in every of the songs of the record
Nice vibe, good production and samples. Played it back to back with my favourite Public Enemy album and it was more listenable. Lauded for it's lyricism but I couldn't tell.
Fuckin' sweet. Boy raps from the streets. Hard but not as hard as Mos Def
nice album and a lot better than other music ive heard of the same genre from the same period but overall a good album
mmm ok i guess
Normaal niet mijn genre, maar dit vond ik aanvaardbaar
The world is yours NY State of mind Represent Stylé!
I liked it, nothing profoundly touching my heart but still cool.
This album had such a variety of feeling which is great. 'lifes a bitch' reminded me of the film 'fish tank' because there's this really amazing scene where she's dancing to it with her mum
Bra gung :D
Not a Hip Hop/Rap guy. The beats were great. I could listen to this again, that's a rave review for me for not liking the genre.
I liked it
I like this old school hip hop vibe. And q tip is a great feature artist. It's good lyrics and great flow. I like the tone of his voice too.
Rap clasico. La próxima predyar más atención a las letras.
Good, but wasn't my favorite. Ok music with clever lyrics, but somewhat repetitive.
It just wasn't as good as I expected. It should be something I like, rap with multisyllabic internal rhyming, but I just didn't find the flow exciting.
GOOD ALBUM 3.7/5
One of these songs was in Tony Hawk's Underground.
Fun music, boring lyrics, even if the rhyme schemes are complex.
not for me but iaf
I don't listen to much of the genre, but enjoyed it. Will listen to that again.
The beats are simple and lacking a bit, rapping flow is nice. Overall a decent album that isn't too long
3 stars. There were a few bangers in the beginning, but second half definitely not as memorable
Not that fan of the genre hip-hop, but really liked elements of music from jazz and blues. Difficult to hear the text, but the flow and rhythms was good
average rap album to me...a bit crass for my tastes.
best of the rap so far
Really good raps. that are engaging and well writen. I wish the music was more interesting , more nuanced. Most songs are just drum beats an a single synth figure that often sounds like a vibraphone. Some more varied instrumentation would help in my engaging in this otherwise excellent album Having said that it deserves further exploration. 3.5 stars
Been waiting a long time to listen to this legendary album. Beats are good. Taps "flow". It's kind of old school. I like. High 3.
Nothing stood out - all seemed fine but that's it
A genre outside of my usual comfort zone, I was definitely not feeling okay about the world through "N.Y. State of Mind" and wasn't sure I could do this. "Life's a Bitch" was also rough, but I appreciated the sound of it more. And then I found myself quite liking "The World is Yours" and "Halftime" with its jingle bells. Heck, I liked the rest of it. Many of the repeated themes in these songs felt cliché, but I reminded myself that this was 1994 and these were compositions that inspired the clichés. It was a voice that ended up drawing me into its world for a little while.
Never listened to Nas before, +1 from me. Probably wouldn't have put this on but glad I did.
Not to my taste but appreciate the variety and style.
This was fine
I can appreciate it, understand it, tip my hat to it, maybe even masterbate to it, but that doesn't necessarily mean I love it. Bumping it up a point for staying within a nice, tight run time.
Liked this considerably less than the one 2 days ago
Never listened to before. Certainly more enjoyable (to me) than much of the what makes up the rap genre today.
I don't listen to as much hip hop as I used to, but this is pretty good.
Very, very talented. Simple, thoughtful music without being pretentious. His ego doesn't get in the way, here.
I was surprised how much I liked this, as I don't usually gravitate to this sort of music other than the well known bangers. I paid no attention to the lyrics but I'd defo listen to it again as a boppy backdrop for work.
Otro disco de Rap que se me pasa sin pena ni gloria. No me pareció odioso como el Hip Hop actual en el que cantan con voz de idiota, pero eso tampoco basta para ganarse más estrellas.
Buen hip hop, buenas mezclas. Un par de canciones pegajosas. 2.5 que debería quedarse ahí, pero subirá a 3 porque no se me hace un disco de 2. Songs: Life's a Bitch, NY State of Mind
Eu me surpreendi com o álbum, gostei mais do que imaginei, achei que era mais do mesmo da old school, mesmo sabendo que é um clássico, mas gostei muito, a vibe é bem gostosa. Músicas favoritas: N.Y. State of Mind; The World is Yours; Memory Lane; One Love
Not bad; it surprised me because I thought hip-hop was always about getting girls and money. I think I'd have to listen again to focus more on the lyrics, though.
Rap. Got to admit that I was falling asleep while listening, and my semi-hazy recollection of the first few tracks was that the beats were pretty repetitive, but the rap flowed really well. I'll have to listen again, but I'm gonna go 3 on the basis of those repetitive beats.
3/5 Beats were really cool, and quite liked the rapping in places. But overall it just didn’t do it for me.
Surprisingly I somewhat enjoyed this, but still the majority of rap/hip-hop is not for me. "The World is Yours" and " Halftime" were my favourite tracks.
Not a rap aficionado, but I recognise the excellence of the lyrical content.
90s hip hop/ rap. I didn’t know this guy. Enjoyed listening to it on a long drive. There is lots of music like this and I’m not clear what puts this album into the 1001. It was descent but …
And a half. This was good
I was surprised by a more alternative hip hop sound (though with a harder edge to the lyrics). In 1991 Nas really sounded like a bridge between 80s hip hop and 90s gangsta rap. You can hear a shift in his style by 1996's "It Was Written." I've always liked Nas, and this added exposure doesn't change that. However, nothing really stands out on "Illmatic" as a can't miss track. It's very even, without extreme highs or lows.
My roommate played this (and the Siamese Dream-LOL) nonstop for a year straight. Lotta nostalgia tied up in this... that was a trying year.
Great example of good beats and sampling mixed with solid vocals. Would revisit this one for some relaxing hip hop vibes.
Just ok to me. Admittedly not the best judge on hip hop.
The last hip-hop album I drew on the list was Kendrick Lamar's "good kid, m.A.A.d city", lauded as the "Illmatic" of its generation. It's been interesting comparing the two as coming-of-age records, two individuals dealing with the gangster lifestyle and their surroundings. Nas doesn't quite show the same nuance as Lamar did twenty years later, and the music isn't as ambitious in scope, but it wouldn't be fair to spend the whole review comparing "Illmatic" to another album. By all accounts it's still a landmark in hip-hop, a game-changing record rich and vivid in its autobiographical detail. Like a lot of the hip-hop I've encountered on the list, I'm going to need to put some more hours in listening before "Illmatic" reveals its treasures to me. On first listen, some of the music seemed a little thin on the ground ("N.Y State of Mind"'s stark bass-piano figure and drum beat, the mellow and downbeat "The World Is Yours", the repetitive "One Love"). That said, there are some notable features from artists I admire (Q-Tip, DJ Premier, and a particularly scene-stealing turn from AZ in my personal highlight "Life's a Bitch"). There's no denying that Nas's verses are very well written and performed, with lyrics just as suited to poring over on genius.com as they are marvelling at in real time as Nas effortlessly rolls them off the tongue. His lyrics revel in gritty detail, self-evaluation and a queasy mixture of pride and abandonment ("Represent" is a killer example, with its musical arrangement providing the urgency it deserves). It may not have held my attention throughout (by not conforming to my rockist, melody-over-lyrics sensibilities), but "Illmatic" is clearly an accomplished album and one I'm going to have to come back to in time to appreciate its full magnitude.
The genre isn't one of my favorites, but this one - I do like. I can do without some of the language, but compared to other similar music, this one is pretty tame... I do like the song "Life's a Bitch" and then you die - that's why we get high... I think it might just be my new anthem. :) 3/5
great flow, content is immature at times
Wasn’t too bad actually, pleasantly surprised
I was only vaguely familiar with Nas before listening to this album. I enjoyed the stripped down sound and texture. I'd listen again
Slick rapping, smooth beats. Great BGM for me but nothing more.
Beste wel prima hip hop album, maar niet zo lekker als die van Biggy
Pretty solid rap album but I just won’t go out of my way to listen to most of this
Not a big listener of Rap and I hated Yeezus which was an offering a week ago.. this however is better. Good grooves. The lyrics portray an experience of growing up in the 'hood and are not a procession of ego posturings. No skits too. Solid 3. (It would prob be a 4 if I liked the genre)
I went into this having heard how amazing Nas is from people that listen to a lot of hip hop, and then seeing the reviews in here describing this as the absolute best rap album of all time. That was a mistake. If I went into this without all of the hype I might have enjoyed it more, instead I heard what sounded like so many other rap albums. The beats, the flow, and the content of the lyrics all just sounded the same as what I've heard elsewhere. I expected something incredible and I got normal. It was good, I liked it, but I don't see why this was mind-blowing for so many.
Nas’ general talents with the spoken word are definitely illmatic, featuring a solid and extensive command of vocabulary, layered rhythms and multisyllabic rhymes, illustrative scene setting, etc. The actual life those words are witnessing, though, is an illness. No fewer than half the songs celebrate the acquisition of money as a necessary component to happiness. More than half speak to a daily practice of self-medication. And practically all the songs feature some kind of gun violence, or the threat of, including murder. The ‘N.Y. State of Mind,’ for example, involves a watching of one’s ass at all times. ‘Life’s a Bitch,’ Nas claims, ‘and then you die, that’s why we get high. ‘Cause you never know when you’re gonna go.’ Nas’ letter to a prisoner on ‘One Love’? It sucks out here on the outside, too. 'Illmatic' is all about extoling the art of the street hustle, and there is a real possibility that had I grown up as a black kid in the late 20th century in the Queensbridge projects I’d be rapping these songs too. That is, if I weren’t incarcerated or shot dead in a drug deal. But my life has been significantly different from Nas’, with privileges and opportunities he could scarcely dream of. So, how do I review 'Illmatic'? I might as well be a vegan reviewing a steakhouse, or a blind person reviewing a movie. I understand and appreciate Nas’ talent as a rapper. But I do not understand (nor can I appreciate) the existence he raps about. Doesn’t mean that I’m not listening, though, and trying to learn.
Lots of cool smooth grooves - generally one smooth groove per song repeated without much change - with Nas saying a LOT. His words are interesting but overwhelming. I know "historically" this is a key rap album, but it didn't click for me like a lot of the other seminal rap albums on the list. Not bad, but just didn't pull me in. Maybe I need more of an appreciation for how it changed rap or just need to listen more, but I'm moving on.
Best of the 90s rap so far
I can see why this was important, and the lyrics are inventive. But it wasn't my thing.
New one for me. Best of hip hop that I’ve heard.
Good album, probably needs more listens for me to fully appreciate
Nas is a great rapper but this is dated and boring.
Hyvähkö kokonaisuus, muttei säväytellyt kertaakaan. Parempaakin Nasia kuultu.
Not my style
Some classic tunes on there but not for me.
Couple interesting songs outside of the unnecessary language
it was okay, I cant say any tracks got me excited
Not for me, not my thing.
Not my favorite of 90's rap but definitely not bad at all
Explicit at F*(^
Hip hop clásico
Hiphop dieser Ära: ikonisch und doch mono. Ich darf mich glücklich schätzen, erst etwas später eingeschaltet zu haben, als Message, Samples, Struktur als Ganzes ein neues Level erreichten. Nas ist schon okay, aber für meine Lesart ein stepping stone zum goldenen Ufer. Kendrick gibt mehr als 1.9
Hmja, wat kan ik hier nou nog over zeggen? Niet zo'n heel boeiend album.
Vind rap best tof, maar dit kon me niet bekoren.
I can understand why people think this album is so great, but it's really not for me.
Writes well, but not into the genre.
2/5 it was somewhat tiring
The good news about Illmatic is it's sonically pleasant. The beats have flava (shoot me for using the slang) and the samples are tasteful, well-chosen and varied. There's some nice scratching on The World is Ours and Memory Lane. Olu Dara's sinuous trumpet lines are welcome on Life's a Bitch. Unfortunately, it's all downhill from there. There are few new insights here, just the same old gangster rap tropes and DJ braggadocio you've heard a million times before. Okay, that might be a little harsh. Nas redeems himself slightly as a storyteller on Memory Lane and One Love, which have a palpable sense of place and an elegiac, melancholy tone, unusual in rap. Unfortunately, Nas' raps are rhythmically remedial. They're fluid enough, but lack creativity and variety. Frankly, Illmatic mostly bored the shit out of me. One small blessing: the usual misogyny and homophobia are kept to a minimum. 1 1/2 points for the musical backgrounds, 1/2 point for the raps. 2/5
Not my favourite genre of music but for rap it’s more than listenable. While I did enjoy the pleasant flow it’s not an album I’ll actively seek to play again. If ‘90s rap is your style though, you’ll probs really dig it. 2 Stars!
2/5 Not my kinda music.
Ouch! Too spikey for me.
no me copo mucho, pero es algo que el genero tampoco me copa.
Not my thing
Not for me.
not a genre I listen to to.
Not bad as far as rap goes, but just not my thing. 2 stars.
Not my cup of tea
Not my genre and nothing special here to enjoy
Yo, I can't pretend I understand or can relate to this music, but I don't hate it and I can listen to it. I probably won't again, it's just that it's not my kind of music. Ya know what I'm saying...
Not my type of music none of the songs stood out to me and not an album I would listen to again soon
Does nothing for me
Boring raps, with dull backing samples that sound a bit like jazz-esque background music they'd play in a restaurant. Just a bit meh all the way through
I made it through the whole thing but I can't say I enjoyed it
Know what I'm sayin'? No I don't, nas
It's just not the genre for me.
Får jo lyst til å spilla GTA San Andreas, men gir meg ikkje så masse meir
Veit at detta albumet blir rekna som veldig bra, men eg berre forstår ikkje koffor Ikkje min sjanger Life's a bitch and then you die e ein bra quote då, så + for den
p729. 1994. 2 stars. Hip-hop/rap. Not my thing at all, so 2 stars. Like the bass and production though, and there are a couple of OK tracks like Life's A Bitch. On the whole, 40 mins of my life I won't get back.
Not gonna discredit it but it’s just not for me!
it falls in the "i can appreciate it but it's not for me" bracket
called me a fag
La neta a la primera rola lo mandé a chingar a su madre.
Nooooombre, mejor le entró a la catafixia
Het gepraat is eentonig, maar ook de beats zijn erg saai. Nee, dit is hem niet.