Illmatic is regarded as one of the most important albums of the ’90s and a benchmark by which hip hop classics are measured. April 2014 marks 20 years since the album came out, and listening to its remastered re-release certainly reiterates its impact – not only on artists for a whole generation, but on Nas’ peers.
The linguistics still run rings around listeners, matched with some of the more striking beats of the time. Still, what does Illmatic XX offer that we don’t already know? Well, it provides a look at the prodigious young man prior to its release via a radio spot and a previously unreleased track, ‘I’m A Villain’. Furthermore, we get a chance to hear what a Bizarro World version of Illmatic would sound like thanks to some inventive and creative remixes – ‘It Ain’t Hard To Tell’ still works without its definitive ‘Human Nature’ beat, and ‘Life’s A Bitch’ takes a different turn and threatens to surpass the original with its lively reinvention by Arsenal.
This particular trip down memory lane is well worth your time, especially if you missed out the first time around. Pull down your shade and start counting that money.
Illmatic XX is out now through Sony.