Nas – The Making of Illmatic

Now in twenty-deca, it’s been about 16 years since Nas first dropped this classic LP. Illmatic shattered the hip-hop scene, and remains the epitome of T.R.O.Y. era rap. What solo albums can you think of coming close to this gem?

Courtesy of our man fatboybrandon at Philaflava, we now have this short little documentary in .mp4 format for you to download. “You can import the mp4 file into iTunes and convert it for your iPod or iPhone if you like. I try to keep a bunch of classics to travel around and watch regularly.”

This E.P.K. aired originally on an episode of Video Music Box (before Illmatic’s official release), the first television program dedicated to airing almost exclusively hip-hop videos, and focusing on an urban market. The show was hosted by Ralph McDaniels, local television personality and pioneer in hip-hop media. He is now an on-air personality for Hot 97, as well as executive-producer and co-host for The Bridge, which chronicles the history of hip-hop. Video Music Box aired on New York's WNYC-TV, the only television station to be owned by a city, until mayor Giuliani sold its rights to the Dow Jones & Co. The station is now owned by Pax TV, according to IMDB.

Anyways, there is great footage of the artists that went into making one of the all-time greatest albums, and not just Nas–the production team comprising Pete Rock, Q-Tip, Large Professor, and DJ Premier is probably the greatest assembling of producers ever for a single record, and they are all interviewed here. The EPK also offers a glimpse at Queensbridge and the people who surrounded Nas growing up in his infamous (like that pun?) neighborhood.

“The way he comes with his ideas, and the way he hits it, you know what I’m saying–it’s clearly poetry.”- Q-Tip. “With all the producers we have on the album, you know–Nas himself–you know, that’s hip-hop.”- Large Pro.

Again, props to fatboybrandon on the upload. Be sure to check out his awesome blog, Crates of JR, for more hip-hop goodies, articles, music, and videos. Also, props go out to the Youtube user 1X4YourMind on uploading the EPK to Youtube–if any of you are interested, he has a bunch of other hip-hop video gems in his channel.

— Teddy C.D.

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