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Wiki

  • Release Date

    15 April 1994

  • Length

    10 tracks

Illmatic is the classic debut studio album by American rapper Nas, released on April 19, 1994, by Columbia Records. After signing with the label with the help of MC Serch, Nas recorded the album in 1992–1993 at Chung King Studios, D&D Recording, Battery Studios, and Unique Recording Studios in New York City.

Since its initial reception, Illmatic has been recognized by writers and music critics as a landmark album in East Coast hip hop. Its influence on subsequent hip hop artists has been attributed to the album's production and Nas' lyricism. It also contributed to the revival of the New York City rap scene, introducing a number of stylistic trends to the region. The album remains one of the most widely celebrated albums in hip hop history, appearing on numerous best album lists by critics and publications.

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 rhymes and inner-city narratives based on Nas's experiences in Queensbridge, New York.

The album debuted at #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. Despite the album's low initial sales, Illmatic received rave reviews from most music critics, who praised its production and Nas' lyricism. On January 17, 1996, the album was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, and on December 11, 2001 it earned a Platinum certification after shipping one million copies in the United States.

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