Schoolboy Q, Kendrick Lamar and Tech N9ne Reflect on Nas’ ‘Illmatic’ Album [Video]
In a video from Google Play, rappers like Schoolboy Q, Tech N9ne, Sir Michael Rocks, Kendrick Lamar and others give props to the Queensbridge, N.Y., MC for creating what is now considered to be one of the best hip-hop albums of all time.
Back in 1994, Nas wanted to create an album that people could relate to and understand his point of view as a young man growing up in the projects.
“I just wanted some good music,” he says. “I wanted music that the streets could feel but more to it than just typical hit songs.”
“The album was written all my life. I was writing all the way up until we went into mixing,” he adds. “That’s why the album cover is what it is…it’s me as a kid. I wanted you know who I was and what I was going through.”
Kendrick Lamar’s fantastic debut album ‘good kid, m.A.A.d city,’ is often compared to Nas ‘Illmatic’ for its visionary scope of street life in Compton, Calif.
“We share somewhat of a similar story… just being from a community and not being sucked in [to the goings-on around us],” he says. “He’s from [Queensbridge], I’m from Compton. I’m sure he’s seen a lot and done a lot.”
“It’s bigger than just one song,” he continues. “To craft that is on a whole another plain. I wouldn’t have been able to do that if it wasn’t for that album, truthfully.”
Nas is one of several rappers from the “Golden Era” of hip-hop that has remained relevant today. Indie rap god Tech N9ne knows why.
“I know for sure that Nas is relevant. He could put an album out today and people would buy it,” he states. “Our generation, the younger generation — it’s been written. He just has that flow, that spirit.”
In the end, Nas says that he’s not through with creating more legacies. For him, ‘Illmatic’ was just one moment in time.
“If this is 20 years, then it’s 20 years. It’s not the only album in 20 years of rap, it’s just one of them,” he says. “So, I appreciate the love from everybody who would care to remember.”
Nas’ 20th anniversary album, ‘Illmatic XX,’ will hit stores on April 15.