WAINAO N°62 - THE PRICE TO PAY
WHY NOW? BECAUSE FEW ALBUMS HAVE BEEN SUCH AN INSPIRATION FOR SO MANY. THERE WAS A BEFORE AND AN AFTER ILLMATIC. WE CAN JUST IMAGINE NAS MINDSET ALL THESE YEARS, KNOWING THAT HE WILL NEVER DO BETTER THAN THAT.
He made his best album on his first try and he will, unfortunately , from there always disappoint fans. HARD TASK. The fact that he still made an amazing career after that is even more impressive.
“ Enjoy freedom young MC; once you make that Classic album you dream of…you’ll enter a place where there are no bad or good songs. Just Classics.. or crap. Believe me, I live here “
“ A classic album is to success...what super maximum security is to jail”
April 19, 1994: The album ILLMATIC by NAS was released. This album is widely regarded as one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time,
Illmatic is the debut studio album by the young American rapper Nas. This is a hardcore hip hop album, based on Nas' experiences in Queensbridge, New York. Before April 1994, in a sense the west coast of America was the centre of the hip hop universe. Dr Dre's “The Chronic " had had started the whole G Funk movement of hip hop, followed with rappers like Snoop Dogg and others. An unknown 20-year-old rapper from Queensbridge, New York put the East coast on the top of the hip hop world again, with a debut album boasting an all star cast of producers, including DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Large Professor and Q Tip. Nas "whose first nickname was "Kid Wave", knew he wanted to be a rapper at a young age.
the young rapper point of view about his experiences in Queensbridge, New York, will be the base of Illmatic. Nas depicted his life in the projects, he talks about the good as the bad moments; gang rivalries, desolation, urban poverty, the ravages of drugs. He focuses on his own experiences and for the first time (to this degree) give the audience very detailed pictures of trap doors, rooftop snipers, street corner etc..
Nas said "W]hen my rap generation started, it was about bringing you inside my apartment. It wasn't about being a rap star; it was about anything other than. I want you to know who I am: what the streets taste like, feel like, smell like. What the cops talk like, walk like, think like. What crackheads do — I wanted you to smell it, feel it. It was important to him to told the story that way because he thought that it wouldn't be told if he didn't tell it."
On April 19, 1994: The album ILLMATIC by NAS was released. This album is widely regarded as one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time, and production and NAS lyricism will influenced a great part of next generation of rappers. Nas explained that the name "Illmatic" (meaning "beyond ill" or "the ultimate") was a reference to his incarcerated friend, Illmatic Ice
The album debuted at number 12 on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 60,000 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. Illmatic has been noted by music writers for Nas' unique style of delivery and poetic substance. His lyrics contain layered rhythms, multisyllabic rhymes, internal half rhymes, assonance, and enjambment.
Nas, who was viewed as the second coming of Rakim, levelled up almost by himself all the rap game. His complex rhyme patterns, and impressive vocab took the art new heights and an all new generation felt the obligation to live up to that new standard. In addition to his rapping, Nas achieved significance for his poetic use of language.
The album cover of Illmatic features a picture of Nas as a child gained an iconic reputation too. the cover of Illmatic would have been inspired by a jazz album. Among the producers was DJ Premier, recognized at the time for his raw and aggressive production with jazz-based samples and heavy scratching, and for his work with rapper Guru as a part of hip hop duo Gang Starr.
The magazine XXL gave this album five mics....and at the time, it was mind blowing, especially for . Reginald Dennis, former music editor of the magazine and XXL co-founder, recalled: "I only gave one 5 under my watch and it went to Nas's Illmatic." Dennis cited it as "the only time I ever broke the 'no 5' rule" It was the only timee even if a lot of people felt that "The Chronic" should have been the first. continues "I'm just happy that Illmatic is universally acclaimed as a classic, so no one can accuse me of dropping the ball" said Reginald. Illmatic has been noted as one of the most influential hip hop albums of all time
After years in the shadow of the west coast, New york returned to its place. Mobb Deep, Capone-n-Noreaga, AZ..all followed the lead. Ms Hampton, In the 2009 essay "Born Alone, Die Alone," rtecalled that "ILLMATIC" had a huge impact even on the east coast. Tupac Shakur, himself, became "an instant convert" of the album. In her essay, Hampton implies that Nas' lyricism have maybe influenced Tupac's album, Me Against the World, which was recorded that same year.
Illmatic was A gift and a curse fo Nas. While its success gave Nas an undisputed place in the hall fame of RAP. Due to its critical fame, Nas' subsequent albums have been compared to that classic and of course, failed to live up to the expectations. His albums are often criticised even with commercial success.
Jay-Z even mocked him in the song "Takeover" for having a "one hot album [Illmatic] every ten year average". The Source magazine reflexed on that situation; "Blame excellence, blame perfection and aggression. Blame one of hip-hop's most beautiful moments for the prison that traps Nasir Jones today – blame Illmatic."
Nas, however, continued to make remarkable work with album like Stillmatic (2001) and the acclaimed follow-up God's Son (2002), or The Lost Tapes (2002).
Nas is condemned to fail....and he accepted a long time ago !
To know more about the subject:
Ahmed, Insanul. "50 Things You Didn't Know About Nas". complex.com.
Huey, Steve. "Illmatic: Overview". allmusic. Retrieved January 17, 2010.
Jay-Z vs. Nas: The Real Story Behind the Feud". Liveabout.com.
A look at a hip-hop masterpiece, ten years removed". Prefix. January 1, 2001. Retrieved January 17, 2010.
Nas Fans- Good long read. Nas Biography". Real Rap Talk. September 14, 1973. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
The Greatest MCs of All Time – 5. Nas". MTV News. 2006. Archived from the original on May 14, 2008. Retrieved July 16, 2008.
Reid, Shaheem (January 5, 2004). "The Year Hip-Hop Was Reborn: A Look Back at 1994". MTV News. Archived from the original on January 4, 2009. Retrieved March 6, 2009.
Touré (August 25, 1994). "Illmatic". Rolling Stone. New York. Archived from the original on March 9, 2013. Retrieved March 8, 2013.
Keys, Alicia Alicia Key's 25 Favorite Rap Albums Complex.com Retrieved on March 8, 2013.
Harrington, Richard (May 4, 1994). "Recordings ;Rap That Sticks; Nas's 'Illmatic': One Dynamite Debut". The Washington Post. Style section, p. c.07. Retrieved March 8, 2013.
Weiss, Jeff (January 23, 2013). "Nas: Illmatic". Pitchfork. Retrieved January 24, 2013.