often cited as one of the best hip-hop albums of the '90s, 'illmatic' is the undisputed classic upon which nas' reputation rests, reissued & remastered for the 21st century.
it helped spearhead the artistic renaissance of new york hip-hop in the post-chronic era, leading a return to street aesthetics. yet even if illmatic marks the beginning of a shift away from native tongues-inspired alternative rap, it's strongly rooted in that sensibility. for one, nas employs some of the most sophisticated jazz-rap producers around: q-tip, pete rock, dj premier, & large professor, who underpin their intricate loops with appropriately tough beats. but more importantly, nas takes his place as one of hip-hop's greatest street poets -- his rhymes are highly literate & his raps superbly fluid. marking 20 years since the genre defining release of 'illmatic', the 2cd set is expanded with a second disc of additional extras, promos & remixes.