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1. It's short. Like, thirty minutes, thirty one, thirty four. The last hip-hop LP that could fit on one piece of vinyl. No filler. No filler! Even the intro is great. Every song is great. It's all lean and stuff. No excess.
0. IIlmatic. First, it looks like three I's! See, you can't tell whether that a small ell or a big eye. Eye, ell, ell, emm, eh, tee, eye, see. Illmatic. IIImatic. lllmatic.
2. The intro has a bit of his first appearance on a Main Source track from 1991. Under some movie sample. I don't know what movie.
3. [Funky music starts] 'Ehyo, yo, pull down the shade, man. Let's count this money, nigga. Ehyo, Nas, put the Jacksons and the Grants over there. You know what I'm sayin? 'Cause we spendin the Jacksons You know how we get down, baby.' I know that's about money. But I don't see much American currency so I'm not sure exactly what it means.
7. This guy told me that Nas reminded him of Rakim. But not in the way they sounded. In some other way. I forget. I actually might have just read it somewhere. But I actually kind of think they do sound the same. They have the same kind of style and they're both great. Nas uses a lot of different sorts of styles but in a lot of places on Illmatic he does have a kind of Rakim thing going.
6. He was only like 19! When he wrote most of it. Or younger. I'm not really sure. But that's pretty good.
11. 'Halftime' is my new second favorite song. It's got some weird jingle bell thing going on in the beat. Or something. And it's cool. It's cool.
12. 'Memory Lane' is really great too.
13. a) Nas on most of Illmatic is as smart as any current underground hip-hop. Without a doubt. Probably smarter. Smarter than Cannibal Ox.
b) See, the reason the Cannibal Ox album was so huge was because it was dark and they talked about guns. Just a bit, but not too much. Because they like to hear people talk about guns but it's on a hip indepedent label too. Because Anticon and Matador have a rule where their artists can't make references to guns. Def Jux bends the rules a bit sometimes and they let the gun references in. And Cannibal Ox aren't white people, either. So they had that going for them too.
c) But their album was sprawling and 75% filler.
14. It's straight hip-hop, too. No R&B songs or poppy stuff, kind of. It's more straight rap than- 'cause that Notorious B.I.G. one came out the same year, and so did the one Jay-Z one- anything else. It doesn't have a bunch of faggy guests or cameos or whatever on it. It has Q-Tip singing part of a hook and some anonymous friends contributing a few verses and that's it. I think one of those guys from Gang Starr might be on it, too. But I'm not sure.
15. 'One Love' is good. He gives advice to a kid and stuff. And it's the Q-Tip song I was thinking of.
16.a) Listen. Seriously. Okay. I can, like, picture Queensbridge. New York. And Nas and stuff. Like. You know? I listened to it a lot before. And it really made me want to sell crack and carry a gun. For real. No kidding. 'Cause Nas. And his friends. They're like, living off their wits. And they drink Hennessy and smoke blunts. It's kind of a romantic lifestyle. I figure selling crack and living in an impoverished neighborhood really isn't that great, but it sounds really cool. And it's kind of exotic, see. Because I live in the remote Canadian north. So, it's like some faraway, exotic place where people get rich from selling drugs and such. It's neat. It has absolutely no meaning to me, kind of. It's just some fantastical place. There isn't even a 'hip-hop' or 'urban' or whatever radio station here. So, I'm fully isolated from it. So it has a totally different meaning to me. Or, maybe no meaning at all. It does have meaning, though. But, I don't know.
b) He's serious, though. He's not kidding. The whole thing is pretty serious. There's no joking around. He's serious.
c) He maintains his professionalism.
18. People always cite 'Life's a Bitch' as one of the great sad rap songs of all time. Because there aren't many good ones, I guess.
So, you should download, like, 'NY State of Mind,' or 'One Love,' or 'The Genesis.' But, 'The Genesis' is just the intro bit. Or you could just download the whole thing and steal it.
You just prompted me to dig the album out Haven't listened to it for many months, and I'm really enjoying hearing it once again. It's easy to forget how fab tunes like "Halftime" and "The World Is Yours" are.
Shame Nas sold out after Illmatic, but at least he made this one classic album. Recommended!
-------------------- -- Freak out baby, the bee is coming.
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