Archives

Do Remember When AZ & Pete Rock Made A Gem That Was Rather Unique (Audio)

Almost exactly a year and a half after his show-stopping appearance on Nas' Illmatic, AZ Tha Visualiza released his debut album, Doe Or Die. In October of 1995, AZ carefully refrained from any further features between his 5-mic debut and his solo set-up. Fans were starving, and the East New... Read more

Nas Performs With The National Symphony Orchestra & It’s Truly Illmatic (Video)

Over the years, Nas has had many distinctions. He is the namesake of a Harvard fellowship. He was given BET's "I Am Hip Hop Award." His album, Illmatic was chosen to be preserved in Harvard's library. And, just last week, he was given the Spotlight Award from the New York... Read more

Nas & The National Symphony Are Taking Illmatic From QB To The Kennedy Center (Video)

Back in 1994, Nas' debut Illmatic peaked at #12 on the charts. The commercial performance was highly respectable for an emerging Rap artist, but Hip-Hop Heads who heard and loved the album knew those 10 songs meant so much more than any chart, music review, or record store display could... Read more

Nas’ Original Demo For “It Ain’t Hard To Tell” Left No Doubt He Would Prevail (Audio)

It's not uncommon for rappers to commence in their teens or even become famous in those years. Rakim was 19 when Paid In Full was released. LL Cool J was 17 when his debut arrived. Big Boi and André 3000 from OutKast were teens when they started, as was Joey... Read more

Steve Stoute Explains Why He Took Nas From The Underground To The Mainstream (Video)

Music industry veteran Steve Stoute recently launched UnitedMasters, a company that allows musicians to market directly to their fans across digital platforms. The service promotes artists keeping their master recordings and provides resources for the modern market that once seemed reserved for major label acts. Stoute is the latest guest... Read more

DJ Premier Credits Nas With Helping Choose 2 Very Illmatic Samples (Video)

Production is more than just making beats and shopping them to artists. By 1994, DJ Premier had produced three Gang Starr albums, in addition to important records for KRS-One, Heavy D & The Boyz, and Lord Finesse. Nas and his team would seek out the Works Of Mart for three... Read more

Nas Was Only 16 When He Wrote Illmatic. He Reminisces On The Music That Made Him (Video)

Since his days of being "too scared to grab the mics in the park" and "breakin' into candy factories," Nas' youth is legendary. Since Illmatic, the son of Jazz trumpeter Olu Dara and Anne Jones chronicled his adolescence in rhyme. The Hip-Hop culture listened, and apparently related to an MC... Read more

Large Professor Helped Take Nas Over The Top. Now He Tries It With Fashawn (Audio)

In the early 1990s, Large Professor was a master mentor to fellow young MCs. While the Main Source front-man was pivoting to his solo career, he mentored Nas, Akinyele, and Organized Konfusion, among others. Starting with "Live At The Barbeque" in 1991, it was clear by Illmatic that Nas had... Read more

Kool G Rap Details How He Helped Launch Nas’ Career & Releases New Cormega Collabo (Video)

In 1995, Kool G Rap released the highest-charting single of his career, "Fast Life." The song merged two Queens legends, as G Rap collaborated with the white-hot Nas, fresh on the heels of his Illmatic debut. While the world may not have known it at the time, the collaboration was... Read more

Prodigy Reveals Nas’ Illmatic Was A Blueprint For Mobb Deep’s The Infamous (Video)

In April of 1995, Mobb Deep released The Infamous, a legacy-ensuring sophomore LP that kept the rugged, unadulterated reputation of Queensbridge alive and well. Featuring Ghostface Killah, Q-Tip, Raekwon, Nas, and others, Prodigy and Havoc's second album would arrive the same year as equally enduring albums from Smif-n-Wessun (Dah Shinin), Big L... Read more

Talib Kweli’s 10 Favorite Albums Are An Eternal Reflection Of Great Music

Last month, Raekwon raised some eyebrows and even more discussion when he listed his Top 10 albums. While his own acclaimed purple tape and Ghostface Killah's Supreme Clientele were on the list, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) missed the cut. That prompted some discourse from fans, surrounding the classic LP upon... Read more

Nas’ “Illmatic” Is 1 of 4 Hip-Hop Albums Being Preserved in Harvard’s Library

Five years ago, producer 9th Wonder was named a Harvard fellow, a position which has endowed him with the responsibility of preserving Hip-Hop music and culture within the Ivy League university's cherished library. At the onset of his tenure, 9th began working on an initiative for the Dubois Institute at... Read more

Q-Tip Recalls Playing The “One Love” Beat For Nas The First Time They Met

Q-Tip, Jarobi White, Busta Rhymes, and Consequence appear on this week's episode of Drink Champs. N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN interview A Tribe Called Quest members and affiliates about a litany of subjects. Q-Tip, who speaks at length about producing "Bonita Applebum," as well as A.T.C.Q's 2016 material, spoke about his... Read more

Stillmatic Turns 15. Here’s A Look At Nas’ Return To His NY State Of Mind (Video)

Fifteen years ago today (December 18), Nas released his fifth album, Stillmatic. At a time before popular Rap stars were making albums into series and franchises, Nasir Jones flashed back to his 1994 debut. In the seven years since, the MC had two #1 albums, and gone platinum many times... Read more

Puff Daddy Credits Nas With Saving Hip-Hop & More In A Bold Tribute Speech (Video)

More than 15 years ago, Nas and Puff Daddy made a triumphant anthem together in "Hate Me Now." Appearing on Nas' third album, I Am... the record symbolically closed out the 1990s with an MC once allocated to the Underground shining as a reigning figure of Hip-Hop. Although Nas and... Read more

Prodigy Details Mobb Deep’s Journey From “Embarrassed” Juveniles To Infamous Stars (Video)

Mobb Deep experienced one of Hip-Hop's largest growths between their first and second albums. 1993's Juvenile Hell debut boasted production from DJ Premier, Large Professor, and a fledgling Havoc. However, the 4th & B'Way Records release did not chart, and was not the album response the teenage duo from Queens,... Read more

Stretch & Bobbito Recall Expectations Around Nas’ Illmatic Release (Audio)

Last night (June 13), Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito The Barber returned to radio, in a new way. The legendary New York City duo conducted two hours of live radio via Samsung 837 approximately 26 years after the pair began with a historic eight-year run at Columbia University's WKCR 89.9FM radio... Read more

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

Last September, Ambrosia For Heads launched a debate among its readers seeking to answer one of Hip-Hop’s most hotly-contested questions: what is the greatest Rap Album Of All-Time? “Finding The GOAT Album” has considered more than 120 albums from the 80s, 90s and 2000s (40 in each), with options for... Read more

The Final Battle: Nas’ Illmatic vs. Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). Which Is Better?

Last September, Ambrosia For Heads launched a debate among its readers seeking to answer one of Hip-Hop’s most hotly-contested questions: what is the greatest Rap Album Of All-Time? “Finding The GOAT Album” has considered more than 120 albums from the 80s, 90s and 2000s (40 in each), with options for... Read more

Nas’ Illmatic vs. A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders. Which Is Better?

Last September, Ambrosia For Heads launched a debate among its readers seeking to answer one of Hip-Hop’s most hotly-contested questions: what is the greatest Rap Album Of All-Time? “Finding The GOAT Album” has considered more than 120 albums from the 80s, 90s and 2000s (40 in each), with options for... Read more

Here Are The Final 4 Greatest Of All-Time Hip-Hop Albums, As Decided By You

In September of 2015, Ambrosia For Heads launched a debate among its readers seeking to answer one of Hip-Hop’s most hotly-contested questions: what is the greatest Rap Album Of All-Time? “Finding The GOAT Album” has considered more than 120 albums from the 80s, 90s and 2000s (40 in each), with... Read more

Meet The Secret Weapon To Hits By Nas, Eric B. & Rakim & Main Source (Audio)

Anton Pukshansky is a name that likely appears in your music library—even if you don't know it. Born in Russia, raised in New York City, the producer, engineer, bassist, and keyboardist would work on heralded albums including Nas' Illmatic, Eric B. & Rakim's Let The Rhythm Hit 'Em, Kool G Rap &... Read more

Nas’ Illmatic vs. Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Which Is Better?

Last September, Ambrosia For Heads launched a debate among its readers seeking to answer one of Hip-Hop’s most hotly-contested questions: what is the greatest Rap Album Of All-Time? “Finding The GOAT Album” has considered more than 120 albums from the 80s, 90s and 2000s (40 in each), with options for... Read more

Nas’ Illmatic vs. Ghostface Killah’s Supreme Clientele. Which Is Better?

Last September, Ambrosia For Heads launched a debate among its readers seeking to answer one of Hip-Hop’s most hotly-contested questions: what is the greatest Rap Album Of All-Time? “Finding The GOAT Album” has considered more than 120 albums from the 80s, 90s and 2000s (40 in each), with options for... Read more

AZ Tells The Origin Of His Show-Stealing Verse On Illmatic (Video)

Most AZ fans know that "Tha Visualiza" hails from Brooklyn, New York. However, unlike so many illustrious MCs, AZ's sense of place and home lives in his lyrics more than photographs, symbols, etc. The Firm co-founder returns to his Williams Houses in East New York, Brooklyn for the first time... Read more

Finding The GOAT Album: Nas’ Illmatic vs. LL Cool J’s Radio. Which Is Better?

One year ago, Ambrosia For Heads launched a debate among its readers seeking to answer one of Hip-Hop’s most hotly-contested questions: who is the greatest MC of all time? “Finding The GOAT MC” lasted between September 2014 and May 2015, engaging millions of readers and ultimately producing its winner, as... Read more

Finding The GOAT Album: Eminem’s Marshall Mathers LP vs. Nas’ Stillmatic. Which Is Better?

One year ago, Ambrosia For Heads launched a debate among its readers seeking to answer one of Hip-Hop’s most hotly-contested questions: who is the greatest MC of all time? “Finding The GOAT MC” lasted between September 2014 and May 2015, engaging millions of readers and ultimately producing its winner, as... Read more

Finding The GOAT: Nas’ Stillmatic vs. J-Live’s The Best Part. Which Is Better?

One year ago, Ambrosia For Heads launched a debate among its readers seeking to answer one of Hip-Hop’s most hotly-contested questions: who is the greatest MC of all time? “Finding The GOAT MC” lasted between September 2014 and May 2015, engaging millions of readers and ultimately producing its winner, as... Read more

Here Are The Top 10 Rap Albums of the 90s That You Determined. Get Ready For The 2000s…

Today (December 13) closes Round 2 of the 1990s bracket of Finding The GOAT Albums. With two battles coming down to a photo finish, this was the most dramatic march to the end thus far. You—the voter—definitively decided which 10 albums go forth to the final 32 albums across all... Read more

Nas’ Illmatic vs. DMX’s It’s Dark And Hell Is Hot. Which Is Better?

One year ago, Ambrosia For Heads launched a debate among its readers seeking to answer one of Hip-Hop’s most hotly-contested questions: who is the greatest MC of all time? “Finding The GOAT MC” lasted between September 2014 and May 2015, engaging millions of readers and ultimately producing its winner, as... Read more

Nas’ Illmatic vs. GZA’s Liquid Swords. Which Is Better?

One year ago, Ambrosia For Heads launched a debate among its readers seeking to answer one of Hip-Hop’s most hotly-contested questions: who is the greatest MC of all time? “Finding The GOAT MC” lasted between September 2014 and May 2015, engaging millions of readers and ultimately producing its winner, as... Read more

What Makes A Hip-Hop Album A Classic? (Editorial)

In all genres of music, the term "classic" prompts debate. Cultural conservatives argue it is used too freely, and often stamped on works of art prematurely. On the other hand, liberally-minded art patrons maintain that placing restrictions on calling an item classic misses the point entirely. Especially with so much... Read more

Large Professor Chats with Ali Shaheed Muhammad & Teaches Hip-Hop History Lesson (Audio)

In 2014, Large Professor - the legendary Queens, New York producer who has worked with Eric B. & Rakim (while he was still in high school, no less), Nas, Busta Rhymes, Joell Ortiz, Public Enemy, and dozens more - visited hosts Frannie Kelly and A Tribe Called Quest's Ali Shaheed... Read more

You Can Hate Me Now: How Early Nas Critics Show the Intricacies of Hip-Hop Nostalgia

In a recent article, writer Lucas Garrison explored the underbelly of '90s Internet forums, focusing specifically on the discussions about Hip-Hop music. What he finds of particular interest are the conversations that developed around Nas and the critical diatribes related to the Nas of 1994 versus the Nas of 1997.... Read more

Dave East & Nas Aren’t Just Running Together, They Overlap In Narratives… (Audio)

Dave East is one of the newer artists to join Nas' Mass Appeal Records family. The Spanish Harlem, New York MC may have serious buzz right now, but that clearly is not the only reason he's running with Nasir Jones. The "NY State Of Mind Freestyle (East Mix)" takes Dave's... Read more

Large Professor Details His Role in Bringing Nas to the World on In the Scrolls (Video)

Though Large Professor brought the world Main Source, his solo works and countless classic productions for others, his greatest contribution likely will always be considered his role in bringing Nas to the world. As Heads know, Large Pro was one of the first to put Nasir Jones on a high... Read more

Fabolous Takes On Another Nas Classic And Smashes It (Audio)

After rhyming over It Was Written's "Black Girl Lost," Fabolous re-ups his 90s freestyles series with another Nas classic. This time, he takes on the Pete Rock-produced Illmatic staple, "The World Is Yours." Updating the track with up to the minute references like Derrick Rose's now infamous stoic pose (as... Read more

Marley Marl Remembers Giving Nas Some Key Demo Pointers, Talks Sample Revenue Loophole (Video)

Marley Marl might just be Hip-Hop's greatest producer. The Queens, New York legend is not easily accessible these days, so when he appeared in Tokyo, Japan before a live, engaged audience, it's "kind of like a big deal." Red Bull Music Academy/ego trip!'s "Chairman" Jeff Mao sat down with the... Read more

Pete Rock Salutes Nas & The Album He Worked On With Time Is Illmatic (Mixtape)

Back in 1994, Pete Rock notably contributed to the would-be classic debut album, Illmatic, by Nas. The Mount Vernon, New Yorker, who was fully entrenched in a highly-successful career with Pete Rock & CL Smooth stepped aside (with Large Professor, DJ Premier, Q-Tip, and L.E.S) to give some of his... Read more

Nas Discovers His Third Great Grandmother: Pocahontas

Like Erykah Badu before him, Nas inks up his time slot on PBS' television series, Finding Your Roots, in which the New York born artist traces back his family lineage far beyond the reaches of his own personal discoveries. The host of the show and Harvard professor, Dr. Henry Louis... Read more

20 Years After Illmatic, Represent Gets Official (Video)

Just one day removed from Mass Appeal's release of the behind-the-scenes footage, Nas unveils the first ever official music video for the 20th anniversary Illmatic release, "Represent." The video itself is representative of the 20 years that have passed since his debut album release, utilizing old footage of a much... Read more

Celebrate Illmatic Again With A Behind-The-Scenes Look at the Making of Visuals for Nas’ Represent (Video)

The 20 year anniversary celebration of Nas' Illmatic continues. In addition to the release, Nas has held a contest to choose one lucky fan to collaborate and produce an official music video for his cut, "Represent." Mass Appeal takes you to the set of the music video shoot at YouTube... Read more

The O.G. Turntablist/Producer DJ Scratch Remixes Nas’ It Ain’t Hard To Tell (Audio)

Back in 1994, DJ Scratch was relatively quiet. Transitioning from his run as EPMD's DJ, the New Yorker was gearing up to work closely with Busta Rhymes on establishing a sound for the Leaders Of The New School front-man's next wave, Flipmode Squad. Heads in '94 did hear Scratch however,... Read more

The Celebration Of Illmatic Is Far From Over! Charlie Rose Gets Deep With Nas (Video)

While Nas is among Hip-Hop's most introspective MCs of all time, Heads know that Nas interviews are not always on the same level. While artists like 50 Cent, Tupac, and KRS-One have never struggled to open up for interviews at all outlets, the Queensbridge superstar (much like his formal Brooklyn,... Read more

Close Out The Nas’ Illmatic Celebrations With DJ Moneyshot’s Amazing Sample-Sourced Mega Mix (Mixtape)

In one week, it'll be May, and much of the April coverage celebrating the 20th anniversary of one of Hip-Hop's hallmarks, Nas' Illmatic, will seem out of vogue, or passé, while other things are highlighted. Before the calendars change, Solid Steel's DJ Moneyshot, who has previously re-considered and extensively examined... Read more

Nas Discusses His First Trip to the Studio in 1989 (Video)

Here's a look at a 20-year old Nas (1994) discussing his first trip to the recording studio in 1989, with his pops, Olu Dara. He also speaks on meeting Large Professor and MC Serch, and the impact they had on his career. The celebration of 20 years of Illmatic continues...Check... Read more

Here’s Footage from 1994 of Nas, Q-Tip, Pete Rock, Premier & Large Professor Discussing Illmatic (Video)

Remember that iconic shot of Nas, DJ Premier, Q-Tip, Pete Rock and Large Professor in the studio together? Here's footage from that day, as well as each discussing the making of Illmatic in 1994. Check out these historic visuals as we celebrate today's 20th anniversary of the release of Illmatic.... Read more

Here Are Words From Nas During the Illmatic Era, Raw and Uncut (Video)

Today (4/19) is the 20th anniversary of the release of Nas' Illmatic. As part of our celebration of this landmark date for Hip-Hop, here's an amazing extended look at Nas in the Illmatic era. In this candid interview, young Nas talks about the Hip-Hop legacy of Queensbridge, how he connected... Read more

Take A Trip To Queensbridge With Nas’ Brother Jungle, Who Talks Illmatic Cover & Ill Will (Video)

From the original Illmatic release by Nas to this week's Illmatic XX retrospective, the artist is forever tied to the Queensbridge Houses that inspired much of the album. VIBE goes into QB (something that many media outlets might not be so keen on), care of Mikey Fresh, who gets a... Read more

Watch FUSE’s Making Of Nas’ Illmatic 3-Part Special, With Interviews With Large Professor, Pete Rock & DJ Premier (Video)

Has any Hip-Hop album gotten as much attention at the 20-year mark as Nas' Illmatic has this month? The Columbia/Sony Records debut, the subject of Illmatic XX, a reissue with a plethora of dope bonus material (freestyles, demo recordings, remixes, photos, liner notes), is just in everybody's spotlight. One such... Read more