The Hip Hop Mortuary

"I wax lyrics so poetic even the most narcoleptic skeptic feels awake and perceptive"

10:12 AM

Nasir Jones/ Illmatic

Posted by Guy Fawkes


One word is all that you have to say to remind people of NaSiR JoNeS's legendary status: Illmatic. Illmatic is not just an album, it was a way of life back in the 90's... any one who lived in NYC back in the 90's can attest to the validity of NaS's vivid storytelling. This is widely considered one of the best albums to ever be made and it's puny by today's standards (only 10 songs). Some argue that NaS was ever able to measure up to Illmatic, and I thoroughly agree, "It Was Written" is an amazing album in it's own right, "Stillmatic" really did prove that NaS is still Illmatic, and "Hip Hop Is Dead" opened a forum that is still today discussed. Is hip hop really dead? No living hip hop artist has garnered as much respect as NaS besides his former enemy Sean Carter... but that's a different story. Now to review the album to which all other great albums are compared to.

Although foolish, The Good:

Track #2-NY State Of Mind- DJ Premier does an amazing job on this beat, I read somewhere that MC Serch once said that Primo and Nas were like brothers how they fit each other. Nas does an immaculate job rhyming on this song, every line is perfect, and I love the hook on this song. This is an amazing introduction to the album, it's almost impossible to tire of this song.

3. Life's A Bitch- Nas does it again, the jazzy elements lend to a great instrumental, and the lines are legendary. AZ almost keeps up with Nas' nearly immaculate lines. This song is a hip hop classic, and for good reason. This song has been referenced thousands of time. The best part of the whole song is Nas' father ending this classic track.

4. The World Is Yours- Uncomparable, Pete Rock creates one of the best instrumentals of all time. Nas' lines are impeccable, not one line that is weak. His flow is amazing, and this song has instant repeatable potential. This may be the best song ever. ** This MAY BE THE BEST SONG EVER!!!

5. Halftime- This is a different song from what you have quickly grown used to, it does the trick in a different way, NaS' lines are amazing once again, and Large Professor from Main Source, provides a LARGE beat to operate over.

6. Memory Lane- The beginning of this track is legendary, and for good reason, can anyone top these lyrics:

I rap for listeners, blunt heads, fly ladies and prisoners
Hennessy holders and old school niggas, then I be dissin a
Unofficial that smoke woolie thai
I dropped out of Cooley High, gassed up by a cokehead cutie pie
Jungle survivor, fuck who's the liver
My man put the battery in my back, a difference from Energizer
Sentence begins indented, with formality
My duration's infinite, money-wise or physiology
Poetry, that's a part of me, retardedly bop
I drop the ancient manifested hip-hop, straight off the block
I reminisce on park jams, my man was shot for his sheep coat
Childhood lesson made me see him drop in my weed smoke

For my money that may be the best verse I've ever heard/read. And not enough can be said about DJ Premier's production job on this song, the sampling, the turntabling, is just simply put perfect.

8. One Time 4 Your Mind- This track is Large Professor at his best, a very slow beat, which Nas destroys, again coming with some crazy lines, and the hook is "phat" as they say 10 times to many on this track.

9. Represent- Goddamn Premier has done it again, Nas' rhymes are infinitely close to godliness on this song, maybe his best performance on the album. And Premier, well let's just say you could have this track on repeat for the whole day, and still get goosebumps when Nas rips shit up.

10. It Ain't Hard To Tell- The first time I heard it, I was expecting another Premier track to finish off this classic album, but this "critically acclaimed" track leaves something to be desired. I don't hate this track, but definitely not a song that belongs on Illmatic. This track is way to pretty to be played after DJ Premier, but maybe I just need time for the beat to grow on me. Large Professor's blunder does not stop Nas' on this track as he just annihilates this song, can't really hope for more when it comes to lyrics.

This album is a tale of two cities, you have the gritty beats from DJ Premier which NaS' illuminates with his ghetto tales. And you have the "sittin in the park" beats from Large Professor which NaS' illuminates with his ghetto tales. This is one of the best albums ever made. Period.

0-20: Terrible listening experience
21-40: Maybe one good song
41-60: A few good songs
61-80: Half are good songs, half are weak
81-100: Great listening experience, almost all are great songs

I give this album a 95, I think it's as close to 100 as any album will get. Amazing... Buy it, please, but if my pleads won't do (said sadly) enjoy

Press this fucking button, right now

2 comments:

Were Read 2 Def said...

From the spliff that I lift and inhale, it ain't hard to tell...

Anonymous said...

Where's an album review for I Am..?