Nas’ Illmatic Turns 25. This New Mix Reminds Why It Might Be Hip-Hop’s Greatest Album

Twenty-five years ago today (April 19), Nas released the album that future generations will likely use to measure Rap greatness. At the age of 20, Nasir Jones delivered Illmatic, a 10-track coming of age reflection that pulled images from Rotten Apple-era New York City, emphasized dreams of being a Rap king, and properly introduced one of the coolest characters ever to grip a microphone.

Wax PoeticsWho Sampled, and DJ Chris Read celebrate Illmatic‘s birthday with care and style like no other, and they do so in audio. This 39-minute mix (the same length as the Columbia/Sony Records release) stands in a class of its own with effort, research, and understanding. Chris gives Nas’ debut all of its roses. The mix features interview clips with Nas, DJ Premier, and executive producer/A&R Faith Newman. Taking carefully chosen turns, the mix reconstructs and deconstructs an undeniably classic release in a way that is informative and pleasing to the ears at once.

It Ain’t Hard To Tell… Nas’ Illmatic Is Decidedly Your Greatest Of All-Time Hip-Hop Album

This dusty mix features rarities like a feature from Brand Nubian’s Sadat X. Additionally, for those without all the vinyl pieces, Heads can catch the remix productions from Tip, Extra P, and L.G., among others.

On a related note, Erick Sermon told AFH TV about sitting with Nas during the making of Illmatic. He also reveals why nothing came of that day spent in the studio.

DJ Premier Recalls Nas & Big L Signing Their Record Deals Together (Video)

The tracklist is as follows. (At Wax Poetics, Heads can re-trace each sample to understand these selections better):

1. Introduction to the movie Wild Style
2. Chris Read – Theme #3 (Scratchapella)
3. Jimmy Gordon & His Jazzpops Band – Walter L
4. Nas – One Time 4 Your Mind
5. Donald Byrd – Flight Time
6. Joe Chambers – Mind Rain
7. DJ Premier “Off the Record” Interview
8. Kool & The Gang – N.T [Loop]
9. Nas – NY State of Mind
10. Eric B & Rakim – Mahogany [Extract]
11. Ahmad Jamal Trio – I Love Music
12. T La Rock and Jazzy Jay – It’s Yours [Extract]
13. Nas – The World Is Yours
14. Nas – The World Is Yours (Q-Tip Remix)
15. Kool & The Gang – N.T
16. Reuben Wilson – We’re in Love
17. Biz Markie – Pickin’ Boogers [Extract]
18. Marley Marl feat Craig G – Droppin’ Science [Extract]
19. Nas – Memory Lane (Sittin’ in the Park)
20. Clyde McPhetter – Mixed up Cup [Loop]
21. The Gap Band – Yearning for Your Love
22. Nas feat AZ & Olu Dara – Life’s a B*tch
23. Stanley Clarke – Slow Dance
24. Michael Jackson – Human Nature
25. Mountain – Long Red [Extract]
26. Extract from movie Time is Illmatic
27. Nas – It Ain’t Hard to Tell
28. Kool & The Gang – N.T [Extract]
29. The Bue Jays – What Do You Want From Me Woman?
30. Biz Markie feat TJ Swan – Nobody Beats the Biz [Extract]
31. Nas – It Ain’t Hard to Tell (Remix)
32. Heath Bros. – Smilin Billie Suite Pt II
33. Nas feat Q-Tip – One Love
34. Nas feat Sadat X – One Love (One L Remix)
35. Nas feat Q-Tip – One Love (LG Remix)
36. Lee Erwin – Thief of Bagdad
37. Nas – Represent
38. Japanese Hair Cast – Dead End
39. Average White Band – School Boy Crush [Loop]
40. Gary Byrd – Soul Travelin’ Pt. 1 [Extract]
41. Nas – Halftime