Soul Strut 100: # 25 - Nas - Illmatic

RAJRAJ tenacious local 7,441 Posts
edited April 2013 in The Soul Strut 100
I will slowly be unveiling the Top 100 Soul Strut Related Records as Voted by the Strutters Themselves.

# 25 - Nas - Illmatic



The list so far:

# 100 - Jr. and His Soulettes - Psychodelic Sounds
# 99 - Sir Joe Quarterman & Free Soul
# 98 - Donny Hathaway - S/T (1971)
# 97 - Bernard Wright - ???Nard
# 96 - Tom Scott - Honeysuckle Breeze
# 95 - People Under the Stairs - Question in the Form of an Answer
# 94 - Harlem River Drive
# 93 - Black Moon - Enta Da Stage
# 92 - Marvin Gaye - Here, My Dear
# 91 - Muddy Waters - Electric Mud
# 90 - Les McCann - Layers
# 89 - Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland
# 88 - Leroy Hutson - Hutson (1975)
# 87 - ESG - S/T (1981)
# 86 - Can - Tago Mago
# 85 - Bohannon - Stop & Go
# 84 - WILLIAM DEVAUGHN - Be Thankful For What You Got
# 83 - Power of Zeus - The Gospel According to Zeus
# 82 - Gang Starr - Hard To Earn
# 81 - The J.B.???s - Doing It to Death
# 80 - Parliament - Osmium
# 79 - McNeal & Niles - Thrust
# 78 - The Lafayette Afro Rock Band - Malik
# 77 - Earth, Wind, and Fire (1971)
# 76 - Dr. Dre - The Chronic
# 75 - Black Sabbath (1970)
# 74 - Trap Door / An International Psychedelic Mystery Mix (2006)
# 73 - Bob James - One
# 72 - Matthew Larkin Cassell - Pieces
# 71 - The Beginning Of The End - Funky Nassau
# 70 - Big Bear - Doin??? Thangs
# 69 - Steely Dan - Aja
# 68 - Quasimoto - The Unseen
# 67 - Curtis Mayfield - Curtis/Live! (1971)
# 66 - Al Green - Im still in love with you
# 65 - The Beatnuts - Street Level
# 64 - Archie Whitewater - Archie Whitewater (1970)
# 63 - Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth - Mecca & the Soul Brother
# 62 - Notorious B.I.G. - Ready to Die
# 61 - The J.B.???s - Food For Thought
# 60 - Don Blackman (1982)
# 59 - Niagara - (Tiddies)
# 58 - Can - Ege Bamyasi
# 57 - Whatnauts - On the Rocks
# 56 - The Mohawks - Champ
# 55 - McDonald and Giles (1971)
# 54 - Darondo - Let My People Go
# 53 - Dorothy Ashby - Afro Harping
# 52 - Beastie Boys - Paul???s Boutique
# 51 - Mulatu Astatke - Mulatu of Ethiopia
# 50 - Lyman Woodard Organization - Saturday Night Special
# 49 - Isaac Hayes - Hot Buttered Soul
# 48 - Lyn Collins - Think (About It)
# 47 - James Brown - In The Jungle Groove
# 46 - Bill Withers - Still Bill
# 45 - Stevie Wonder - Innervisions
# 44 - Silver Apples - S/T
# 43 - Mobb Deep - The Infamous
# 42 - Lyn Christopher (1973)
# 41 - Serge Gainsbourg - Histoire de Melody Nelson
# 40 - Gang Starr - Step in the Arena
# 39 - Diamond D - Stunts, Blunts, & Hip Hop
# 38 - Terry Callier - What Color is Love
# 37 - David Axelrod - Song of Innocence
# 36 - The Invaders - Spacing Out
# 35 - Leo Sayer - Endless Flight
# 34 - Public Enemy - It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
# 33 - DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist - Brainfreeze (Mix)
# 32 - Michael Jackson - Thriller
# 31 - DJ Shadow - Endtroducing
# 30 - De La Soul - 3 Feet High and Rising
# 29 - Ray Barretto - Acid
# 28 - The Sylvers - II
# 27 - Donald Byrd - Places and Spaces
# 26 - Shuggie Otis - Inspiration Information

Please discuss your reactions to this record. The thread will be archived later here.

About


Illmatic is the debut album of American rapper Nas, released on April 19, 1994, by Columbia Records. After signing to the label with the help of MC Serch, Nas recorded the album during 1992 and 1993 at Chung King Studios, D&D Recording, Battery Studios, and Unique Recording Studios in New York City. Its production was handled by Nas, Large Professor, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, L.E.S., and DJ Premier. Styled as a hardcore hip hop album, Illmatic features multi-syllabic internal rhyme patterns and inner city narratives based on Nas' native Queensbridge, New York.

Upon its release, the album debuted at number 12 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling 59,000 copies in its first week. However, its initial sales fell below expectations and its five singles failed to achieve significant chart success. Though it experienced initial low sales, Illmatic received positive reviews from most music critics upon its release and earned praise for its lyrical content, production, and Nas' lyricism. On January 17, 1996, the album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, and in 2001, it earned platinum certification after shipments of one million copies in the United States.

Since its initial reception, the album has been recognized by writers and music critics as a landmark album in East Coast hip hop. It contributed to the regional scene's artistic renaissance in New York, while marking an influential, stylistic change in hip hop at the time. Its influence on subsequent hip hop artists has been attributed to the album's production and Nas' rapping. Several writers have cited Illmatic as one of the quintessential hip hop recordings and one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time. It has been included in numerous best album lists by critics and publications.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illmatic

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Media



«13

  Comments


  • Too low! Top 10 for me. All killer, no filler. Nas at his very best, and Pete Rock, Premier, Extra P, and Q-Tip all at the height of their powers delivering golden beat after golden beat. It was like all creative forces involved were in a contest to out-do each other on the quality scale.

    I wish we had more trimmed-down hip-hop releases like this one. It's brief length is barely noticeable because what's there is amazing.

  • HarveyCanalHarveyCanal "a distraction from my main thesis." 13,238 Posts
    Prolly couldn't see as high as I be.

  • batmonbatmon 27,590 Posts
    Overrated

  • HarveyCanal said:
    Prolly couldn't see as high as I be.

    So whatcha sayin'?

    I still listen to this one, and "New York State of Mind" still gets me every time. I really enjoyed reading Primo's account of the recording in Complex a while back:

    What???s crazy about ???New York State of Mind??? isn???t just that it???s Nas??? best song ever, what???s crazy is how many tries it took for a young Nas to get it just right.

    ???He did that in one take,??? explained to DJ Premier, when we spoke to him last year for "DJ Premier Tells All." According to Nas, the original verse was close to 60 bars which he wrote in the studio that day.

    ???If you listen to ???N.Y. State of Mind?????? continued Premier. ???You???ll hear him going, ???I don???t know how to start this shit,??? because he literally just wrote it. Before he started the verse, I was signaling him going, ???One, two, three,??? and he just goes in.???

  • pcmrpcmr 5,591 Posts
    my best friend got this for my bday and i've listened to it religiously eversince

  • DustedDonDustedDon 831 Posts
    i didn't really get into this record until real late so i think i missed some of the magic of it being new but from an objective stand point it's pretty flawless...

  • DanteDante 371 Posts
    when you look for Unfuckwitable on the dictionary, this comes up.

  • CastenedaCasteneda 100 Posts
    I'm shocked that it's at #25. I figured it'd for sure be a top 5 Soul Strut album. As said above, all killer, no filler. I wish more hip hop albums were this focused from beginning to end.

  • Jonny_PaycheckJonny_Paycheck 17,826 Posts
    happened to be just now playing this record. fresh as ever.

    likewise surprised at it's (relatively) low appearance

  • Jonny_PaycheckJonny_Paycheck 17,826 Posts
    batmon said:
    Overrated

    ha. I'll bite

    B Diddy replaces Illmatic in the canon with _____________ .

    Go!

  • HarveyCanalHarveyCanal "a distraction from my main thesis." 13,238 Posts
    Only acceptable, albeit flawed answer is: Stress: The Extinction Agenda.

  • SunfadeSunfade 799 Posts
    batmon said:
    Overrated

  • HarveyCanalHarveyCanal "a distraction from my main thesis." 13,238 Posts
    Eggplant Xanadoo said:
    batmon said:
    Overrated

    M-E-T-H-O-D, man.

  • Jonny_PaycheckJonny_Paycheck 17,826 Posts
    Eggplant Xanadoo said:
    batmon said:
    Overrated

    cool opinion bro

  • jamesjames chicago 1,865 Posts
    Is it accurate to say that Illmatic was largely responsible for making the multiple-hot-producers album acceptable to Real Heads????

    From my 1990s vantage point out in the sticks, it seemed like before Illmatic all the underground rappers all had "their" sound and "their" crew, including "their" producer, and the idea of having a different producer on every track was considered the domain of wannabe-sellouts who were chasing a bunch of different audiences by getting tracks from whoever was hot at the moment. After Illmatic, though, that shit didn't seem like such a big deal. And of course now it's commonplace.

    Was Illmatic in fact the pivot point for all that, or was I just projecting?

  • Jonny_PaycheckJonny_Paycheck 17,826 Posts
    james said:
    Is it accurate to say that Illmatic was largely responsible for making the multiple-hot-producers album acceptable to Real Heads????

    From my 1990s vantage point out in the sticks, it seemed like before Illmatic all the underground rappers all had "their" sound and "their" crew, including "their" producer, and the idea of having a different producer on every track was considered the domain of wannabe-sellouts who were chasing a bunch of different audiences by getting tracks from whoever was hot at the moment. After Illmatic, though, that shit didn't seem like such a big deal. And of course now it's commonplace.

    Was Illmatic in fact the pivot point for all that, or was I just projecting?

    Sort of yeah, but sort of no, right?

    I mean sure, Nas had Premier and Pete Rock and Q-Tip on there, but Large was his mentor (kind of) and L.G. was like, extended family from QB. And it's not like Large, Premo, Pete and Tip didn't know each other pretty well and (kind of) dig together and trade ideas, right?

    So in a sense, you're right, but also, I think that's an idea that's rolled from a snowball to an avalanche - it's kind of a small thing, even though it seems like a big deal. It's not like he went out and got Clark Kent, DJ Quik, a bunch of other unrelated, random dudes.

  • DanteDante 371 Posts
    i'm far from an expert and my opnion isn't probably relevant, but i'd say that it's accurate to say that.

  • batmonbatmon 27,590 Posts
    james said:
    Is it accurate to say that Illmatic was largely responsible for making the multiple-hot-producers album acceptable to Real Heads????

    From my 1990s vantage point out in the sticks, it seemed like before Illmatic all the underground rappers all had "their" sound and "their" crew, including "their" producer, and the idea of having a different producer on every track was considered the domain of wannabe-sellouts who were chasing a bunch of different audiences by getting tracks from whoever was hot at the moment. After Illmatic, though, that shit didn't seem like such a big deal. And of course now it's commonplace.

    Was Illmatic in fact the pivot point for all that, or was I just projecting?

    Good question.

    I thought he had a significant street and industry buzz after snuffing Jesus.

    So I dont know if his team consciously assembled the "hot" names or were there alot dudes trying to get down w/ the project.

    Didnt Lord Finesse Funky Technician have Mike Smooth, Primo, and Diamond D taking turns?

  • Jonny_PaycheckJonny_Paycheck 17,826 Posts
    I was thinking of DITC actually. All those dudes did joints.

  • DanteDante 371 Posts
    vh1 made a classic albums episode on illmatic and they all (preemo, pete rock, etc) talk about this.

  • HarveyCanalHarveyCanal "a distraction from my main thesis." 13,238 Posts
    james said:
    Is it accurate to say that Illmatic was largely responsible for making the multiple-hot-producers album acceptable to Real Heads????

    From my 1990s vantage point out in the sticks, it seemed like before Illmatic all the underground rappers all had "their" sound and "their" crew, including "their" producer, and the idea of having a different producer on every track was considered the domain of wannabe-sellouts who were chasing a bunch of different audiences by getting tracks from whoever was hot at the moment. After Illmatic, though, that shit didn't seem like such a big deal. And of course now it's commonplace.

    Was Illmatic in fact the pivot point for all that, or was I just projecting?

    Non-issue to me.

  • batmonbatmon 27,590 Posts
    Jonny_Paycheck said:
    batmon said:
    Overrated

    ha. I'll bite

    B Diddy replaces Illmatic in the canon with _____________ .

    Go!

    I have no problem w/ its SS Rank.

    Ive been on record here before about Illmatic and dudes didnt really get it.

    Before the album dropped, singles ( not the officially released joints) were already on mix tapes(and not some real heads underground shit either) throughout the city which was after Halftime got overplayed.

    So by the time the album drops as a whole we only get like 5 new songs.

    Now niggas is talmbout 5 mics for for half an album of material? Im not hearin it. How can u get possible excited or blown away? When you heard half the shit already. Plus the Hip Hop radio shoes were pumpin joints before the release. That how much buzz Nas had before the album dropped.
    Then you got The Source telling cats its a 5 mic joint.......im sorry my standards are different than that.

    Does that diminish what it did for "revitalizing" NYC Hip Hop (which is another inflated myth)? Not at all. But dang.

    I dont wanna hear no emotional jumpin to conclusion shit like im callin the art wack either.

    Its like dudes talmbout Ladi Dadi 12" way way after the shit was OLD from the live tape.
    Shit was already a damn National Anthem before it went to wax. How are u blown away?

  • jamesjames chicago 1,865 Posts
    Jonny_Paycheck said:
    james said:
    Is it accurate to say that Illmatic was largely responsible for making the multiple-hot-producers album acceptable to Real Heads????

    From my 1990s vantage point out in the sticks, it seemed like before Illmatic all the underground rappers all had "their" sound and "their" crew, including "their" producer, and the idea of having a different producer on every track was considered the domain of wannabe-sellouts who were chasing a bunch of different audiences by getting tracks from whoever was hot at the moment. After Illmatic, though, that shit didn't seem like such a big deal. And of course now it's commonplace.

    Was Illmatic in fact the pivot point for all that, or was I just projecting?

    Sort of yeah, but sort of no, right?

    I mean sure, Nas had Premier and Pete Rock and Q-Tip on there, but Large was his mentor (kind of) and L.G. was like, extended family from QB. And it's not like Large, Premo, Pete and Tip didn't know each other pretty well and (kind of) dig together and trade ideas, right?

    So in a sense, you're right, but also, I think that's an idea that's rolled from a snowball to an avalanche - it's kind of a small thing, even though it seems like a big deal. It's not like he went out and got Clark Kent, DJ Quik, a bunch of other unrelated, random dudes.
    Yeah, I mean, I guess a third possibility is that even though the producers assembled were not as wildly diverse as it might have seemed to the casual observer, and even though Illmatic wasn't the first record to do it, Illmatic might have the first to so heavily publicize the practice, to make it such an integral part of the public mythology.

    I remember that everything--everything--I read or saw or heard about that record worked the From Many Masters One Masterpiece angle to an extent that I'd not seen before.

  • HarveyCanalHarveyCanal "a distraction from my main thesis." 13,238 Posts
    I was both excited and blown away. Still am actually.

  • jamesjames chicago 1,865 Posts
    HarveyCanal said:
    james said:
    Is it accurate to say that Illmatic was largely responsible for making the multiple-hot-producers album acceptable to Real Heads????

    From my 1990s vantage point out in the sticks, it seemed like before Illmatic all the underground rappers all had "their" sound and "their" crew, including "their" producer, and the idea of having a different producer on every track was considered the domain of wannabe-sellouts who were chasing a bunch of different audiences by getting tracks from whoever was hot at the moment. After Illmatic, though, that shit didn't seem like such a big deal. And of course now it's commonplace.

    Was Illmatic in fact the pivot point for all that, or was I just projecting?

    Non-issue to me.
    Oh, it's not an issue to me, either. Just a small historical/cultural point that I'm curious about.

  • jamesjames chicago 1,865 Posts
    batmon said:
    How are u blown away?
    By not having lived in New York City during the decade in question?

  • Jonny_PaycheckJonny_Paycheck 17,826 Posts
    the whole reason like half the album was on mixtape before the album dropped was BECAUSE it was that ill.

    people could not wait.

    BATMON is acting like dudes would make a joint, leak it, and then be like, "oh shit, we've gotta finish the album". And then only came up with 5 more joints.

    That's not how I understand these things to work, maybe I'm wrong.

    I don't see how you could call the record as a whole overrated with the reasoning being that you heard half of it before it dropped. And then say you're not critiquing the art. So it's overrated because the marketing and label admin was not up to snuff?

  • batmonbatmon 27,590 Posts
    Jonny_Paycheck said:
    the whole reason like half the album was on mixtape before the album dropped was BECAUSE it was that ill.

    people could not wait.

    BATMON is acting like dudes would make a joint, leak it, and then be like, "oh shit, we've gotta finish the album". And then only came up with 5 more joints.

    That's not how I understand these things to work, maybe I'm wrong.

    I don't see how you could call the record as a whole overrated with the reasoning being that you heard half of it before it dropped. And then say you're not critiquing the art. So it's overrated because the marketing and label admin was not up to snuff?

    10 songs. One is an Intro and one is Halftime from a long minute ago.

    8 songs left. 3 of them get overplayed. 5 are new to everyone when the album drops.............. Instant Classic!!!!!!!

    :icallbullshit:

    I wish I wasnt in NYC and heard the shit in one concentrated bomb.

  • jamesjames chicago 1,865 Posts
    Jonny_Paycheck said:
    So it's overrated because the marketing and label admin was not up to snuff?
    Absolutely. I can't hear "Halftime" without thinking of Michael Rapaport. That's a mic-and-a-half deduction, right there.

  • batmonbatmon 27,590 Posts
    Was Halftime even conceived to be on Illmatic or was it attached to 8 songs plus an Intro?
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