Illmatic (album) by Nas

Illmatic
Illmatic by Nas
Year: 1994
Overall rank: 71st   Overall chart historyOverall chart history
Average Rating: 
86/100 (from 1,304 votes)
  Ratings distributionRatings distribution
Accolades:
Award Top 5 albums of 1994 (3rd)
Award Top 20 albums of the 1990s (14th)
Award Top 100 albums of all time (71st)
Product Details
Availability

eBay
eBay
Nas, From Illmatic to Stillmatic: This Is Remix CD 2002 BRAND NEW / SEALED
Condition: Brand New
Time left: 1h 6m 23s
Ships to: Worldwide

eBay
eBay
Nas - Illmatic 10th Anniversary Platinum Edition [Used Very Good CD]
Condition: Very Good
Time left: 4h 46m 51s
Ships to: Worldwide

eBay
eBay
Nas Life is Good Vinyl LP SEALED Illmatic It Was Written God's Son Amy Winehouse
Condition: New
Time left: 6h 38m 36s
Ships to: Worldwide

  My favourite store:  

Nas bestography

Illmatic is ranked as the best album by Nas.

Nas album bestography « Higher ranked This album (71st) Lower ranked (3,028th) »
-IllmaticIt Was Written

Upcoming concerts

Aug
11
Tue
19:00
The Hunna
Brighton Music Hall presented by Ci, Boston, United States. United States
Tickets from $16.00 (Ticketmaster) Get tickets
 
Aug
14
Fri
21:00
Kingdom Come & XYZ
The Canyon Santa Clarita, Santa Clarita, United States. United States
Tickets from $28.00 (Ticketmaster) Get tickets
 
Jul
23
Thu
21:00
Slick Rick Featuring DJ Kaos and The Slickettes
Howard Theatre, Washington, United States. United States
Tickets from $25.00 (Ticketmaster) Get tickets
 
Discover more upcoming concerts

Listen to Illmatic on YouTube

Loading content from YouTube...

Illmatic track list

Track ratingsTrack ratings The tracks on this album have an average rating of 88 out of 100 (all tracks have been rated).

Sort by
#
Track
Rating/Comments
1.
Rating: 82 (258 votes)Comments: 5
  • Amazon Music
  • iTunes
  • Spotify
3.
Track pick
Rating: 91 (364 votes)Comments: 3
  • Amazon Music
  • iTunes
  • Spotify
5.
Rating: 88 (278 votes)Comments: 5
  • Amazon Music
  • iTunes
  • Spotify
7.
Rating: 87 (279 votes)Comments: 2
  • Amazon Music
  • iTunes
  • Spotify
9.
Rating: 88 (271 votes)Comments: 4
  • Amazon Music
  • iTunes
  • Spotify

Track pick Top-rated track as rated by BestEverAlbums.com members.

Illmatic rankings

Illmatic collection

Illmatic ratings

Average Rating: 
86/100 (from 1,304 votes)
  Ratings distributionRatings distribution Average Rating = (n ÷ (n + m)) × av + (m ÷ (n + m)) × AV
where:
av = trimmed mean average rating an item has currently received.
n = number of ratings an item has currently received.
m = minimum number of ratings required for an item to appear in a 'top-rated' chart (currently 10).
AV = the site mean average rating.

Showing latest 5 ratings for this album. | Show all 1,304 ratings for this album.

Sort ratings
RatingDate updatedMemberAlbum ratingsAvg. album rating
 
95/100
 Report rating
4 days ago viddywell72  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 5790/100
 
80/100
 Report rating
5 days ago bermolder  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 36677/100
 
85/100
 Report rating
06/29/2020 08:52 Mannyb  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 13779/100
 
90/100
 Report rating
06/29/2020 03:42 NJ  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 13880/100
 
90/100
 Report rating
06/28/2020 17:14 shigfrag  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 20986/100

Rating metrics: Outliers can be removed when calculating a mean average to dampen the effects of ratings outside the normal distribution. This figure is provided as the trimmed mean. A high standard deviation can be legitimate, but can sometimes indicate 'gaming' is occurring. Consider a simplified example* of an item receiving ratings of 100, 50, & 0. The mean average rating would be 50. However, ratings of 55, 50 & 45 could also result in the same average. The second average might be more trusted because there is more consensus around a particular rating (a lower deviation).
(*In practice, some albums can have several thousand ratings)

This album is rated in the top 1% of all albums on BestEverAlbums.com. This album has a mean average rating of 84.0/100. The trimmed mean (excluding outliers) is 86.2/100. The standard deviation for this album is 18.1.

Please log in or register if you want to be able to leave a rating

Illmatic comments

Showing latest 10 comments | Show all 93 comments |
Most Helpful First | Newest First | Maximum Rated First | Longest Comments First
(Only showing comments with -2 votes or higher. You can alter this threshold from your profile page. Manage Profile)

Rating:  
100/100
From 06/24/2020 18:34
This is hip hop's A Love Supreme. A ridiculous 40 minute onslaught that happened to be the sound of the future. Raw and visceral yet so beautifully calculated and crafted. Art.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | 0 votes (0 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
Rating:  
100/100
From 06/21/2020 06:58
Definitely my favorite rap album. Best lyrics, best production, everything is at it's best. The stories told in this album feel so real you can almost touch them.

10/10
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | 0 votes (0 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
Rating:  
95/100
From 06/19/2020 13:23
Greatest HipHop record of all time.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | 0 votes (0 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
Rating:  
95/100
From 06/18/2020 23:09
Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones was 20 years of age in the early part of 1994. He had spent the last two years recording what would become his magnum opus and what's widely seen as the crown jewel of today's most preeminent music genre. He was still a minor but possessed the sagacious foresight of a storyteller that had lived five lifetimes. Born in Brooklyn but raised in nearby Queens, his experiences provided the narrative bedrock for 1994's Illmatic, incorporating his observations as a youth and synthesizing them with his reflections as a burgeoning adult. His insight provided social commentary that remains poignant and pertinent over 25 years later. The legendary-titled "N.Y. State of Mind" perhaps prophesied it best. This was the birth of "Nasty Nas" as an idea instead of a name and the beginning of a never-ending chase for genre peers to one-up his debut masterpiece. As of today, it has never been achieved.

After an establishing intro entitled The Genesis, Nasty Nas announces himself with N.Y. State of Mind, a stirring adrenaline shot that simultaneously cherishes (as a haven) and chastises (as a hellhole) the Big Apple. DJ Premier produced the track and provided the spine of the song with a daunting piano sample that is wonderfully dissonant behind Nas' silky delivery. Speaking of silky, Nas' philosophy and flow is on full display throughout the track. He spits, "I'm an addict for sneakers, 20's of Buddha and bitches with beepers, in the streets I can greet ya, about blunts I teach ya, inhale deep like the words of my breath, I never sleep, 'cause sleep is the cousin of death." His first proper track on his debut LP remains one of the genre's defining statements. That's pretty quick work indeed. He collaborates with fellow New York native, AZ, on third track Life's a Bitch. AZ's verse nearly highlights the song with his mile a minute delivery. However, never to be outdone, Nas equalizes during the second half of the three and a half minute cut. He declares, "Got rhymes 365 days annual, plus some, load up the mic and bust one, cuss while I pus from, my skull, cause it's pain in my brain vein, money maintain, don't go against the grain, simple and plain." The track is delicately produced by L.E.S with Nas himself having a hand in crafting the backbone of Life's a Bitch. It's a restrained approach that recognizes the strength of the flows of the rappers involved and gives them ample space to breathe. It then fades out gorgeously with a cornet outro played by Nas' own father, Olu Dara. Fourth track, The World is Yours, is likely the finest representation of the supreme fluidity of its orator. It's often cited as the lynchpin that binds arguments for Nas' possession of the best flow in history. Take for example: "Yet I'm the mild, money-gettin' style, rollin' foul, the versatile, honey-stickin', wild, golden child, dwellin' in the Rotten Apple, you get tackled, or caught by the devil's lasso, shit is a hassle." The World is Yours is nothing less than a lyrical masterclass communicated with the precision of an expert marksman.

The midpoint of the album is appropriately titled, Halftime. In some ways, you can't even tell that The World is Yours has ended, given how effortlessly Nas vocally sails through the fifth track. "I used to hustle, now all I do is relax and strive, when I was young I was a fan of the Jackson 5, I drop jewels, wear jewels, hope to never run it, with more kicks than a baby in a mother's stomach," he details. The track was actually released in 1992 as Nas' first single, under the moniker Nasty Nas. This seems to play a role in the track's omission when talking about the spoils of Illmatic. Nevertheless, Halftime is impossible to ignore, even amongst the giants it stands shoulder-to-shoulder with. After a velvety trip down memory lane, Nas concocts what is likely the summit of his poetic genius. One Love is expertly told and beautifully chronicled. The track snakes along, documenting fictitious letters that Nas has written to his companions who are behind bars. He explains, "What up, kid? I know shit is rough doin' your bid, when the cops came you shoulda slid to my crib, fuck it, black, no time for lookin' back, it's done, plus, congratulations, you know you got a son, I heard he looks like ya, why don't your lady write ya?" Later letters warn his friend to be wary of the dangers of incarceration and his own desire to want to murder out of frustration. He then recants because of his devotion to "One Love". A beautiful and haunting contemplation. He finishes the mosaic by fearing a similar fate for a younger confidante, "Shorty's laugh was cold-blooded as he spoke so foul, only 12, tryin' to tell me that he liked my style, then I rose, wipin' the blunt's ash from my clothes, then froze, only to blow the herb smoke through my nose and told my little man I'ma ghost, I broze, left some jewels in his skull that he can sell if he chose, words of wisdom from Nas: try to rise up above, keep an eye out for Jake, Shorty Wop, one love." The lyricism is unbelievably profound as the Brooklyn-based bard paints a harrowing picture of the dangers of living in poverty and the effect of disenfranchisement and bias towards people of color. However, Nas promises to rise above the immense sociological disadvantages handed to him while hoping others will follow his lead. A sentiment that remains frighteningly relevant today. One Love is a landmark in hip-hop storytelling pageantry.

Nas' Illmatic remains entrenched in the pantheon of the lauded era of 90's hip-hop. On the other hand, it seems far ahead of its time. Its production and beats are some of the best that the era had to offer but it's the poetry on the LP that allows it to elude the aging process. Illmatic almost functions as a "Benjamin Button" of sorts, becoming more and more essential as time passes. Echoes of its excellence are heard in numerous hip-hop projects each and every year. In 2014, a documentary film, "Nas: Time is Illmatic", explored the album and its lasting legacy. Nas himself has even called the 25 years since the release as "a lifetime". It's perfectly understandable coming from the man who lived it, but the music never fails to be a product of the moment when it hits your eardrums and heart. If you listen closely, you can hear it reverberate off the brick walls of New York's compressed alleyways, rising above the sound of traffic, banter and the steam that rises from the streets.

"My intellect prevails from a hangin' cross with nails,
I reinforce the frail with lyrics that's real,
Word to Christ, a disciple of streets, trifle on beats,
I decipher prophecies through a mic and say peace."

- Memory Lane (Sittin' in Da Park)

Standout Tracks:

1. One Love
2. Halftime
3. N.Y. State of Mind

94.2
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | 0 votes (0 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
Rating:  
85/100
From 06/17/2020 06:45
I need to hear it every year.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | 0 votes (0 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
Rating:  
85/100
From 06/09/2020 11:29
That being said, while the lyrics are a little deeper than the rap albums I've heard, that's not saying much. They still rely on the cliches of drug dealing/taking, gang-banging, self-praising, women and sex. Maybe it's more creatively said than most, but it's still the same nonsense a lot of the time. It's at its best when it goes on more about Nas' life experiences beyond the cliches, painting pictures of what it's like to live where Nas grew up.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | -1 votes (0 helpful | 1 unhelpful)
Rating:  
85/100
From 06/09/2020 11:20
I probably shouldn't rate this. I don't like hip-hop. This is one of three exceptions. What grabs me's the melodic loops in the background more than the rapping... so I'm definitely a casual listener. Still, this is a good album, with much better lyrics than I've heard from any other rap album, and the production is swampy and atmospheric as hell.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | 0 votes (0 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
Rating:  
90/100
From 05/12/2020 14:08
One of the best hip hop albums of all time
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | 0 votes (0 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
Rating:  
90/100
From 04/19/2020 17:49
Highlights:

Life's A Bitch
The Genesis
It Ain't Hard To Tell
N.Y. State Of Mind
The World Is Yours
Memory Lane (Sittin' In Da Park)
Halftime
Represent
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | 0 votes (0 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
Rating:  
90/100
From 04/14/2020 05:26
I should've listened to this sooner. All I've got to say is, life's a bitch and then you die.
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | 0 votes (0 helpful | 0 unhelpful)

Please log in or register if you want to be able to add a comment

Your feedback for Illmatic

Anonymous
Let us know what you think of this album by adding a comment or assigning a rating below!
Login or register to assign a rating or leave a comment for this album.
Best Albums of 1994
1. Grace by Jeff Buckley
2. Weezer (The Blue Album) by Weezer
3. Illmatic by Nas
4. Dummy by Portishead
5. Definitely Maybe by Oasis
6. The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails
7. MTV Unplugged In New York by Nirvana
8. Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain by Pavement
9. Dookie by Green Day
10. Superunknown by Soundgarden
11. Parklife by Blur
12. Ready To Die by The Notorious B.I.G.
13. The Holy Bible by Manic Street Preachers
14. Dog Man Star by Suede
15. Bee Thousand by Guided By Voices
16. Let Love In by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
17. Vitalogy by Pearl Jam
18. Throwing Copper by Live
19. The Division Bell by Pink Floyd
20. Jar Of Flies by Alice In Chains
Back to Top