I’ve been hesitant to post anything from Illmatic because like anything of good quality it’s not a quick-fix one night stand, you have to listen to the whole album many times to really understand and appreciate all of it’s beautiful details. Also, Illmatic is so complex in terms of rhyme patterns, expression, insight and innovation that I would have to do some very serious writing to do it justice and I simply don’t have that kind of time on Halloween. However, I did read something on Pitchfork that will better express how I feel about this album.
Illmatic is the best hip-hop record ever made. Not because it has ten great tracks with perfect beats and flawless rhymes, but because it encompasses everything great about hip-hop that makes the genre worthy of its place in music history. Stylistically, if every other hip-hop record were destroyed, the entire genre could be reconstructed from this one album. But in spirit,Â Illmatic can just as easily be compared toÂ Ready to Die,Â It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, andÂ Enter the Wu-Tang as it can toÂ Rites of Spring,Â A Hard Day’s Night,Â Innervisions, andÂ Never Mind the Bollocks. InÂ Illmatic, you find the meaning not just of hip-hop, but of music itself: the struggle of youth to retain its freedom, which is ultimately the struggle of man to retain his own essence.“–Matthew Gasteier
Do I think it’s the best Hip Hop album of all time? In my opinion titles like that limits the way you can appreciate other candidates so I won’t answer the question, not to you or myself. Do I think you can build hip hop from Illmatic alone? Absolutely not but I will encourage you to check this album out, it really is something special. Also, peep some classic articles and reviews about Nasty Nas after the break. Bloggin’ like it’s 1994, whatever. Enjoy.