Notes on Illmatic

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Notes on Illmatic Oliver S Wang 4/20/94 10:41 PM
Puttin' hits on 5.0. 'cause when it's my time to go, I'm waitin for God
with the 4.4.


***Look, this is NOT the second coming...please get off the Source's

        -The hype about Nas is all that...a gifted lyricist if there ever
        was one...can turn a flat track into a hype one...
        -Large Professor, Q-Tip, Premier...'nuff said
        -It's finally out.

        -Album of the year?  In April?  Please...ya'll are trippin'
        -The beats are nice but I think they're ill matched at times.  
        -The quality vs. quantity doesn't make sense considering how
        skilled Nas's not like anybody ever complained about
        Rakim running out of fat tracks in his early days.

        This is a good album.  This is a great album.  This is probably
the best debut to come out of New York since Black Moon's "Enta Da Stage."
BUT, this is not the classic everybody's been calling...for sure, everyone
will be hypin' this album and 12" of the singles will get mad play.  But a
classic?  A classic debut?  Like "People's Instinctive Travels..." or "3
Feet High and Rising?" Naw man.  Like "Criminal Minded" or "Paid In Full?"
        The real gem of this LP is Nas.  All the hype about his lyricism
is dead on.  His flow is tight and he can switch styles, from story
telling to straight braggadocio, on a dime.  
        The production is tight, thanks to three of THE best producers
out there: DJ Premier (GangStarr), Q-Tip (A Tribe Called Quest), Large
Professor (on a self mission).  
        The problems with the album start with the length.  I don't what
you say, but there are only 7 tracks on this baby that anyone into hip
hop hasn't heard.  Genesis isn't a real track...Halftime and It Ain't
Hard to Tell have been released already.  7 tracks?  If it was an EP,
that'd be cool, but a full length LP?  That sh*t's half what other people
are putting out.  
        Musically, the tracks were smooth, jazzy and nice depending, but
Nas needs to roll off the smoother sh*t and get with some harder beats.  
I'm not talking gangsta, but just something rougher.  I'd like to see him
hook up with Diamond D. or Showbiz.  For the most part, the tracks were
well produced, but few tracks nailed me to the wall, screaming in my ear,
"I'm dope!  I'm hella DOPE!!!"  A classic needs to have jams like that,
lyrics ain't gonna cut it alone.  Plus, Life's a Bit*h had me reaching
for the fast forward button on Nas got his flow on.

The Genesis-Nice, rough drum track sets the album off on a good note.  
Nas drops the 411 on what his sh*t is all about.

N.Y. State of Mind (Premier)-Dark track...set by a moody bass and
sinister piano trinkle tinkle.  Definitely not your bouncey, danceable
sh*t here.  Nas rocks the lyrics in perfect synch, drawing the listener
into the NY he knows...  Powerful track...

Life's a Bitch (LES)-Weakest production...waaaaay too smooth for Nas to
be flowing over.  But the lyrics are fat...I can't front.  And the chorus
is surprisingly good considering the weak ass choruses I've been hearing
lately.  Basically, forget the music and just listen to the lyrics.

The World Is Yours (Pete Rock)-Surprise, surprise, Pete Rock manages NOT
to play himself out.  I didn't find the chorus that bad...and as someone
else pointed out, it would've a hell of a lot easier for Pete Rock to
have sample Slick Rick instead.  The piano has a way funky quality to it
mainly because it trips back and forth.  Lyrics are ok...I like Nas' flow
here as he shuttles back and forth, just like the track.

Halftime-Classic.  'Nuff said.

Memory Lane (Premier)-My own nomination for favorite track on the album.  
Very unPremier like considering his last couple of contributions to his
own album as well as KRS-One.  But enjoyable nonetheless...funky and

One Love (0-Tip)-So this is the track that everyone calls their
favorite.  Lyrically, I can't front...Nas puts together a powerful
message to his brothers locked down...I couldn't help but to think of Yo
Yo's Letter to the Pen which is on the same tip and as fat as Yo Yo's
sh*t was, Nas breaks it down better.  As for the track, the xylophone is
increadible as you follow it scale up and down.  Q-Tip gets 'nuff props.  
It's jazzy without sounding hip hop/jazzy and subtle enough to set the
tone without f-in up Nas' flow.

One Time 4 Your Mind (Large Professor)-Extra P finally gets to do a track
which we haven't heard already.  As a tangent, I think Large Professor is
the East Coast producer who has the best idea of basslines and how to use
them, though Beatnuts give him a run for his money.  This track is no
difference...the bassline is fat.

Represent (Premier)-Props to Premier for this haunting music box sample.  
Nas flows as usual...

It Ain't Hard to Tell-Peep the remix for some real fat sh*t.

Last Notes: Like I said, this is a great just isn't ALL that
and a bag of chips.  Honestly, I think the production should've been
better match with Nas' flow...he just isn't on the smooth tip and even
his jazzier tracks don't quite capture Nas' genius.  That plus he needs
to give us more, more, more.  I hate to think how long it's gonna take
for his sophomore effort to drop...  That album has classic potential...

Peace to ya'll,

no APAthy 10/30/12 6:42 AM <This message has been deleted.>
Re: Notes on Illmatic 11/26/12 6:52 PM
shut up faggot
Re: Notes on Illmatic 11/26/12 6:53 PM
On Thursday, April 21, 1994 3:41:26 PM UTC+10, Oliver S Wang wrote:
Re: Notes on Illmatic 11/26/12 7:50 PM
Kanyetothe. The lupe section sucks really doe
Re: Notes on Illmatic illa 11/27/12 5:11 AM
On Thursday, April 21, 1994 1:41:26 AM UTC-4, Oliver S Wang wrote:
lmfao he thought it wasnt album of the year :hah:
Re: Notes on Illmatic 8/15/13 11:30 PM
Im from the future and I listen to future
Re: Notes on Illmatic Jacob Burnétte 10/10/13 4:05 PM
On Thursday, April 21, 1994 1:41:26 AM UTC-4, Oliver S Wang wrote:
Nas sucks
Re: Notes on Illmatic 11/10/13 6:51 PM
On Thursday, April 21, 1994 1:41:26 AM UTC-4, Oliver S Wang wrote:
llmao @ nas sucks dumb fuck
Re: Notes on Illmatic 11/11/13 4:25 PM
This is amazing seeing it now. Not album of the YEAR? HAHAHAHAHA
Re: Notes on Illmatic 3/31/16 6:00 PM
Hello from almost 22 years in the future......

Illmatic is a classic btw