24 years ago today, 19 year old Nasir Jones dropped easily one of the best hip hop albums the game has ever seen. Just think about where you were at 19. I was finishing up my first year of college, young, stupid, and really immature. So I couldn’t even fathom doing anything else but school and my terrible part-time job. So April 19th 1994, Illmatic was born.
MC Serch was one of the main reasons why we even have Nas today. He got the then 17 year old rapper a record deal with Columbia records. Once he was signed, he immediately began recording Illmatic. With production from MC Serch, DJ Premier, L.E.S, and Pete Rock, the project was sure to take off, but that wasn’t the case. It sold 60,000 units the first week which was kind of underwhelming as an act on a major label. However, the critics had rave reviews about it.
The critics loved everything about the project. From the lyricism, production, wordplay, and stories. If you’re old enough to remember when The Source magazine was the hottest thing smoking, you know they had the Five Mic’s rating system. To this day, Illmatic is one of the 15 albums that received a Five Mics rating upon release. What are the others you might ask? The Low End Theory, One for All, De La Soul Is Dead, and The Blueprint, just to name a few.
To this day, Illmatic is one of the most influential albums in the history of music. That album has had a huge effect on my life, and I wasn’t even born when it debuted. That show’s how powerful the music really was and still is. Revisiting the album today, it’s still sonically pleasing, sequenced amazingly, and the lyrics still resonate today.
Happy 24th Birthday Illmatic!
Rating; Anything under a perfect score would be absurd.