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Running length
20 tracks
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    Track     Duration Listeners
1 The Genesis 1:45 250,295
1 The Genesis (Explicit Album Version) 1:45 2,826
2 N.Y. State of Mind 4:54 406,620
2 N.Y. State Of Mind (Explicit Album Version) 4:54 3,304
3 Life's a Bitch 3:30 264,293
3 Life's A Bitch (Explicit Album Version) 3:30 2,126
4 The World Is Yours (Explicit Album Version) 4:50 2,640
4 The World Is Yours 4:50 364,654
5 Halftime (Explicit Album Version) 4:20 2,361
5 Halftime 4:20 284,220
6 Memory Lane (Sittin' in da Park) 4:08 205,737
6 Memory Lane (Sittin' In Da Park) (Explicit Album Version) 4:08 3,890
7 One Love 5:25 273,729
7 One Love (Explicit Album Version) 5:25 1,479
8 One Time 4 Your Mind 3:18 199,117
8 One Time 4 Your Mind (Explicit Album Version) 3:18 2,020
9 Represent 4:12 246,597
9 Represent (Explicit Album Version) 4:12 2,512
10 It Ain't Hard to Tell 3:22 324,632
10 It Ain't Hard To Tell (Explicit Album Version) 3:22 1,232

About this album

Often cited as one of the best hip-hop albums of the ’90s, Illmatic is the undisputed classic upon which Nas’ reputation rests. It helped spearhead the artistic renaissance of New York hip-hop in the post-Chronic era, leading a return to street aesthetics. Yet even if Illmatic marks the beginning of a shift away from Native Tongues-inspired alternative rap, it’s strongly rooted in that sensibility. For one, Nas employs some of the most sophisticated jazz-rap producers around: Q-Tip, Pete Rock, DJ Premier, and Large Professor, who underpin their intricate loops with appropriately tough beats. But more importantly, Nas takes his place as one of hip-hop’s greatest street poets — his rhymes are highly literate, his raps superbly fluid regardless of the size of his vocabulary. He’s able to evoke the bleak reality of ghetto life without losing hope or forgetting the good times, which become all the more precious when any day could be your last. As a narrator, he doesn’t get too caught up in the darker side of life — he’s simply describing what he sees in the world around him, and trying to live it up while he can. He’s thoughtful but ambitious, announcing on “N.Y. State of Mind” that “I never sleep, ‘cause sleep is the cousin of death,” and that he’s “out for dead presidents to represent me” on “The World Is Yours.” Elsewhere, he flexes his storytelling muscles on the classic cuts “Life’s a Bitch” and “One Love,” the latter a detailed report to a close friend in prison about how allegiances within their group have shifted. Hip-hop fans accustomed to 73-minute opuses sometimes complain about Illmatic’s brevity, but even if it leaves you wanting more, it’s also one of the few ’90s rap albums with absolutely no wasted space.

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  • alefspfc

    the bible of hip-hop

    6 Aug 10:23pm Reply
  • Harry_01

    Fantastic album.

    27 Jul 9:07pm Reply
  • LosTico


    6 Jun 7:58pm Reply
  • ThingsThatRhyme

    Bladecatcher- would definitely be a great addition to my collection as well. Just to hear Life's A Bitch

    27 May 8:09am Reply
  • Bladecatcher_

    Ordered this album on LP a couple days ago. Can't wait for it to come in!

    26 May 3:09pm Reply
  • Gaffes

    20 years for a classic.

    19 Apr 8:14am Reply
  • jdotperiod

    A rear perfect 10.

    18 Apr 3:38am Reply
  • blustarent

    timeless classic [4]

    3 Apr 8:40am Reply
  • Joseephhh

    The Greatest

    31 Mar 10:41pm Reply
  • FrameBuster

    This is truly one of the best rap albums ever made and one of the few that aren't clustered with skits, fillers and other bullshit. 40 flawless minutes - perfect!

    30 Mar 1:25am Reply
  • bkelleher

    Not easily..

    19 Mar 9:47pm Reply
  • fank19

    Easily the best hip-hop album ever.

    5 Feb 9:18pm Reply
  • DickBigems

    He can't live up to this album because he's trying too hard? That's probably the exact opposite of why he hasn't "lived up" to this album. And suggesting that Nas lost his creativity after this album is pretty ridiculous.

    23 Jan 10:22pm Reply
  • Kynlyn

    I can't download off this can i

    14 Jan 1:21am Reply
  • calebthecunt

    He made a great album because he wasn't trying. Nas continually fails to live up to this because he constantly tries to live up to it. Trying is the death of creativity.

    6 Jan 6:57pm Reply
  • shadow_-play


    27 Nov 2013 Reply
  • althefknamsrtkn

    the best hip-hop album ever!!! P.S. this is the only hip-hop album ever heard

    25 Nov 2013 Reply
  • SimonePerrota

    The production is the album's biggest strength, regardless of how progressive it was or wasn't. The amount of east coast rappers in the mid '90s that dropped 2-3 track ep's with dope, grimey boom bap beats but never put out an album is obscene. Illmatic has the same vibe of many such ep's - with its lack of central theme, local feel, style-of-the-day, anthemic street braggadocio and raw sampling - only it's an album of course and one with top, top drawer artists involved, which makes it extra special. Illmatic was arguably the first outstanding album to emerge from the rising sea of '90s hip-hop maxi-singles and likeminded regional rappers and it encapsulates the essence of hip-hop production in this era like no other. For these reasons it's a landmark record - we can take right place, right time out of the equation a little. Nas was outstanding here and took technical talent and lyricism to new levels but the beats are one in a million-type quality and make the album truly evocative.

    22 Nov 2013 Reply
  • Gwynbleiddsfang

    Also I'm loving how almost everyone saying it's overrated have a shit ton of Jay-Z or Tupac plays, seeing as those two are probably the most overrated things since Metallica.

    28 Oct 2013 Reply
  • Gwynbleiddsfang

    "This album dropped at the right time, and the right place and by the right artist. " What right artist? No one had any idea who Nas was until this happened, and what right time? Wu-Tang were already beginning to bring back attention towards the east coast if that is what you're talking, this album just accelerated the process, if that's what you're talking about. Your post just makes no sense, sorry.

    28 Oct 2013 Reply
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