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Illmatic Explicit Lyrics

4.7 out of 5 stars 846 customer reviews

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Illmatic [Explicit]
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Audio CD, Explicit Lyrics, April 19, 1994
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Nasir Jones made this debut album at the age of 20, already armed with the calm perceptiveness and been-there-done-that attitude of a much older ghetto vet, though sometimes his inner callow youth shows itself. Illmatic is a look back at a life spent in the culture of the projects, acknowledging joy as much as pain and taking note of violence as a fact of his environment rather than a focus of his life. It's enlivened by Nas's kicky, deep-threaded multiple rhymes--you can tell he grew up listening to Mr. Magic's rap show and internalizing the secrets of everybody's flow--and by tracks from a bunch of all-stars, including the Large Professor, DJ Premier, and, most memorably, Q-Tip ("One Love"). --Douglas Wolk
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 19, 1994)
  • Original Release Date: April 19, 1994
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Explicit Lyrics
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B0000029GA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (846 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,038 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
When I first laid this incredible piece of vinyl on my turntable, I wasn't sure of what to expect. I saw the credits, the amazing producers recruited (Primo, Large Professor, Q-Tip, etc.), but I definitely wasn't ready for the lyrical masterpiece that painted pictures of the sorrowful ghetto life right in front of my eyes, with so much depth that even Mr. Suburbanite could understand the trials and tribulations of the streets. Nas stepped into the studio with his skills and a blunt (or two or three) and spit description-packed lyrics that tell stories in a way nobody else ever can. There are greats like Slick Rick and others, but Nas' smoke-filled voice graces the track and compliments the beat so perfectly that you'd almost think the pulse of the music ran through his veins. And maybe it does. Nas feels the rhythm and gives a new melody to the songs with his original style, a style that many have emulated, but no one can master. Nas was truly ahead of his time with this album. In a time when slow, easily understandable rhymes over mainstream bass beats were popular, Nas stayed true and kicked wisdom for those true rap heads in the streets, displaying a mastery of the language with abundant metaphors and intensely descriptive flows that draw you into the music. Nas' true heart-felt emotion is apparent on all of these tracks, and in songs such as 'One Love,' where Nas is writing a letter to a friend in prison, it's easy for the listener to get caught up and lament the losses of all those other 'not-so-fortunates.' In a time when knowledge-based, lyrically-focused, rhyme-oriented hip-hop is on the B Side, and even Nas himself has fallen off into the league of the Ruff Ryders, this is a record you should have on your top shelf as a constant reminder of times past and possibilities to come, because Nas truly dropped a classic gem.
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Format: Audio CD
Let me preface my review by saying that the original Illmatic album (Disc One of this edition) is an undeniable classic, five stars, without a doubt. But as a whole, this 10 Year Anniversary Edition only gets three stars (I really wanted to give it two), and the primary reason is Disc Two.
The bottom line: this is so much LESS than it could have been.
I love remixes, but the four remixes included here...they just don't work. I don't want to hear Illmatic-era lyrics over 2004-radio-rapper beats. The best of the four is the "It Ain't Hard To Tell" remix, which does have a hardcore, yet updated feel to it. Nas spits some different lyrics (perhaps he re-recorded them for this edition), which is cool. The worst is the "One Love" remix; it inexplicably features censored lyrics, which completely ruins the song, especially when they edit words like "nine" and "L's." Come on. What a waste.
Perhaps the biggest problem I have with including these subpar remixes is the fact that there are already some great remixes of these songs THAT WEREN'T INCLUDED! I'm referring to the remixes done back in '94 and '95 when these songs were released as singles. The Q-Tip remix of "The World Is Yours" and the Arsenal Mix of "Life's a B****" are outstanding. "One Love," "It Ain't Hard To Tell," and "Halftime" were all remixed back in the day, and quite well too. I would argue that these remixes make up a large part of the Illmatic mystique, and they should have been included in this celebratory anniversary collection. I mean, why not? OPEN UP THE VAULTS!
Another thought: if you are going to create some new remixes of these songs, why not bring in the original producers to do the job?
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Format: Audio CD
OK, some cats come on here saying don't believe the hype, or that the album lacks beats, but they don't know what they're talking about. One cat even had the temerity to compare the Illmatic Nas to Eminem. To question the beats on this album is to show your stupidity in relation to the hip hop game. DJ Premier is known as one of, if not the best producer ever along with Dre. One is the best on the east, the other on the west. Large P is also thorough on the beats, and this album has nothing but the best beats. The lyrics are fresh, hungry, and still steeped in the streets.
The best albums in hip hop history all came out right around the same time : 1994. Illmatic, Ready to Die, Southernplayalistik, Illadelph Half Life and Reasonable Doubt each vie for that title. In reality, it comes down to the debut albums from the Kings of NY, BIG and Nas. BIG had filler on his album, and stupid skits. Illmatic is just pure hip hop from beginning to end. A 40 minute oasis of what hip hop should always strive to be. A window to the streets combined with storytelling ability and lyrics that weave themselves together seamlessly.
New York is Hip Hop, and this is the best NY has ever produced.
Don't ever forget, this album is widely acknowledged as the finest in the history of hip hop by all the wisest rap scholars. You think some joker from Toronto or Washington State knows more about hip hop and what's raw than the sages of hip hop culture? I think not.
Comment 46 of 52 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
THIS MIGHT BE IT! 36 Chambers is also so good but it would be too offensive to the elders. Nah, nah, scratch that, let's just get into my opinion of the damn thing. When I first heard this I thought it was pretty good, now it turns out I can't get enough of it now! This is probably the best rap album in my collection. Sure, anything might top it, it'll always have a warm welcome in my collection. I've enjoyed mr. Nasty Nas aka Nasir Jones aka Escobar aka Nastradamus's rhymes for a few years now but I was still into commercial rap only then lol. Well, turns out i'm into every type of rap out now. I wanted to check out the dude's debut when he was in his prime. Note for fans who enjoy Nastradamus & God's Son the most: This is alot different! It has old school and underground beats with Nas's voice sounding younger and lyricasm just about street life in general. You have to get it anyway. I don't care if you hate it, it will always be awsome in MY book! I haven't heard any other of albums yet but I bet NOTHING will top this classic, NOTHING like everybody says!

Phew, let's start.

1. The Genesis: An intro with The Firm & Nas talkin about how bullish is on the radio these days & they tune into an awsome station finally. (no rating)

2. NY State of Mind: Classic. Probably the most well-known song on the album. (10/10)

3. Life's A Bitch (featuring AZ): Best on album with the classic introduction verse from AZ & Nas's verse is awsome as well. Olu Dara, Nas's daddy plays a trumpet solo at the end! (10/10)

4. The World Is Yours (featuring Pete Rock): Another hit, another one of the best on the cd too. First song I heard off the album when I played THUG. GREAT production from Pete Rock. (10/10)

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West Coast??
Man, look at Del the Funky Homosapien, Pharcyde, Jurassic 5, Dilated Peoples, Hieroglyphics, The Alkoholics, Madlib, Danger Mouse might be west coast, EL-P may be west coast also, not sure. But these should be enough to get you started. Also check out and look under the radio... Read More
Jul 19, 2008 by Miles_n_Ish |  See all 15 posts
Import Vinyl censored?
I doubt it's censored if it's imported from Europe. Did you ever find out?
May 14, 2014 by Bucky Koza |  See all 2 posts
can i get a / one of the top 5 of all time
Are you done?
Apr 12, 2013 by Real217 |  See all 2 posts
Jun 9, 2008 by rap is real |  See all 3 posts
Was Illmatic The Best, Worst or WTF Album Cover?!
exactly as marian b meyer said, except it goes deeper to nastradamus as a prophet and i am as a god. biggie and many other artists later got the idea to put their baby picture on from nas.its classic
Jan 27, 2013 by Jill |  See all 3 posts
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