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Illmatic XX

45 customer reviews

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Vinyl, April 15, 2014
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Editorial Reviews

Vinyl LP pressing. Nas' seminal debut album has been expanded 20th anniversary edition titled, ILLMATIC XX. Long considered one of the greatest Hip Hop albums of all time, ILLMATIC is a densely textured, deeply lyrical portrait of life in the US's largest public housing project, Queensbridge. Upon release, the record signaled the resurgence of the moribund New York hip-hop scene and helped pave the way for Biggie Smalls, Jay Z and a new generation of New York rappers. ILLMATIC XX is the ultimate fan experience and features new liner notes by longtime friend, Sacha Jenkins (Ego Trip), previously unseen and rare photographs, a personal note from Nas and more! 2014 is the year of ILLMATIC XX!

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. The Genesis
  2. N.Y. State Of Mind
  3. Life's A Bitch
  4. The World Is Yours
  5. Halftime
  6. Memory Lane (Sittin' In Da Park)
  7. One Love
  8. One Time 4 Your Mind
  9. Represent
  10. It Ain't Hard To Tell

Product Details

  • Vinyl (April 15, 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Legacy
  • ASIN: B00I6B2J36
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,378 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By iGotOnMyBackpack on April 17, 2014
Format: Audio CD
This is just a quick cash grab for Sony. They could have put together a better package to commemorate this excellent LP but no, they took the easy way out. There are a ton of illmatic era songs that could have been included in this collection but instead we get a bunch of unnecessary remixes. This is a cool collection to own if you are new to Nas but if you've been a fan, just stick to the OG release of illmatic because the album didn't need remastering either. Especially what they call remastering which is just making the album louder.

P.S. The vinyl is just the original album with a digital download of the bonus material.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Charles Nordlander TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 15, 2014
Format: Audio CD
Hey, I've got an idea: let's take one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time--maybe "THE" greatest, depending on your POV--and for its 20th anniversary, we'll compress the crap out of its dynamic range so we can make it louder, destroying its audio quality completely, but promote the fact that it's "a new remaster" as if that's a good thing.

If that sounds good to you, then by all means run don't walk to buy Illmatic XX. But if you care at all about audio quality, then just run away period, as fast as you can, and buy a copy of the original CD. To be fair, this wrong-headed compression of dynamic range to crank up the overall volume of an album is not unique to the Illmatic XX remaster--this is what "remastered" has mostly come to mean in recent years, and it's why most newer remasters are a waste of money if you're buying them for better audio quality. The earlier versions will generally sound better.

My comments about what they've done with compression on Illmatic XX are not just my "opinion" -- there are a few databases online now that are tracking dynamic range data for the various versions of a particular album in an effort to stop what's being called "the loudness wars." And the dynamic range for Illmatic XX is awful, and significantly worse than the original CD.

For those of you who may not know what's going on with the loudness wars, here's a brief guide: the dynamic range (DR) of an album is the range of difference between the loudest and softest parts of the music, measured in decibels. The DR, of course, constantly changes as you listen, through the peaks and valleys of loudness. These changes and variability in loudness are an important part of what gives music its "life.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Dash Inc. on April 16, 2014
Format: Audio CD
Twenty years ago, hip hop was being shaped by some of the most influential hip hop records in history: Wu Tang’s Enter the Wu, Biggie’s Ready To Die, Outkast’s Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, then Nas emerged straight outta Queens with a record that broke the mold so hard, they didn’t even bother picking up the pieces: they just had to step back and admire the game-changing record that is ‘Illmatic’.

Now, twenty years later, Illmatic is being reissued as a remastered version of the main disc, plus a second disc containing b-sides, remixes and radio edits from now all the way back in ’93. If you’ve never heard it before, here’s what you need to know: take the feel and flow of golden age hip hop albums, add it to an astonishingly-gifted, original, young lyricist, then fuse those two elements together with the best hip hop producers at the time: you get history-altering record Illmatic.

The differences with the remaster vs. 10 year anniversary or the original: much, much more bass, whether you have expensive headphones or just have it in your car playing on a normal stereo. It hits you in 'The Genesis', and the kick doesn't let up until 'It Ain't Hard To Tell' ends. Another slight difference with this version: the volume is a little higher too. Both of these things are great, but what you're really getting with this deal is a second disc of remixes, b-sides and old tapes that is like the stocking at X-mas time: it's not the main present, but it perfectly complements the rest of the experience with songs you’ll end up adding to your favorite playlist (especially ‘It Ain’t Hard To Tell (The Stink Remix)’). Worth buying another version of the disk for remasters and remixes? Easily, easily worth its weight in gold.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Perverted Alchemist on April 20, 2014
Format: Vinyl
On Main Source's 1991 debut "Breaking Atoms", the album track "Live At The Barbeque" featured two then up-and-coming rappers, Nas and Akinyele. While Akinyele had promise, he was bested by an underage kid from Queens who uttered the first- and best- verse on the song. That appearance was enough to garner him buzz- enough buzz, in fact, to secure a recording contract with Columbia Records. His signing was important for two reasons: both for Nas and Columbia. For starters, it gave Nas a platform to show that he had more quotables in him than just his part on "Live At The Barbeque". On Columbia's end, it gave them a much needed presence in hip hop after losing their decade long distribution deal with Def Jam Recordings to Mercury Records. After another appearance (which was on the single "Back To The Grill" by MC Serch) and the soundtrack single "Halftime", Nas readied his debut release "Illmatic", which was released in the middle of Spring in 1994.

This reissue marks the second time this album has been remastered- the first time was in 2004 to commemorate its tenth anniversary and was released around the same time as his mature double album "Street's Disciple". On this reissue, there three remixes of the first single "It Ain't Hard To Tell", the Q-Tip remix of "The World Is Yours", among others. There's also a radio freestyle and the previously unreleased track "I'm A Villain" (However, none of these songs appear on the vinyl reissue). The original album has been digitially remastered with a much needed sonic improvement. His debut was produced mostly by Large Professor and DJ Premier with a little help from Q-Tip and Pete Rock and future Trackmasters member L.E.S..
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