Author: Matthew Gasteier
"Contradiction, the yin and the yang, the simultaneous existence of two competing realities, and the larger than life persona that depicts populist realism are at the core of Nas's Illmatic." Yet Nas's identity - as an inner-city youth, a child of hip hop, and a Black American - predicts those philosophical quandaries as much as it does its brazen ambition. "Partly because of that recklessly broad scope, the artistic impact of Illmatic" was massive. The record finds its place in the greatest transition in hip hop up to that point, the spot where the streets and the charts collided."