1994, Nas blessed the hip-hop community with Illmatic, arguably one of the GREATEST hip-hop albums EVER!
That’s why in celebration of the album, we dug through the crates and pulled together 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Nas’ Illmatic.
Russell Simmons Passed On Signing Nas
Say it ain’t so Russell! Back in the early 90’s, Simmons passed on Nas fearing his debut album would NOT be a commercial success, and in the short term, was probably right, with Illmatic failing to reach gold in it’s first year, but sometimes you need to foresee the future!
Nas addressed the situation on the song “Surviving The Times,”
“Russell said I sounded like G, the nigga fronted.” (in reference to Kool G Rap)
“N.Y. State of Mind” Was Done In One Take
According to DJ Premier “he did that in one take.”
“If you listen to ‘N.Y. State of Mind” continued Premier, “you’ll hear him going, ‘I don’t know how to start this shit, ‘because he literally just wrote it. Before he started the verse, I was signaling him going, ‘One, two, three’ and he just goes in.”
Nas Wanted To Sample “Juicy Fruit”
One of Biggie’s biggest songs of all time “Juicy” was built over a sample of Mtume’s “Juicy Fruit.” According to Nas, he asked producer L.E.S. to bring the record to the studio so HE could sample it.
Not having that record, L.E.S looped another classic track, The Gap Band’s “Yearning for Your Love”, which ended up being “Life’s A Bitch.,” and us hip-hop fans can’t complain about that!
Busta Rhymes Passed Up The “Halftime” Beat
Would of, could of, should of when it comes to Busta passing up the beat Large Professor made in front of him that later would become “Halftime”.
Busta said he didn’t know what to do with it, telling XXL, “Then I heard it on ‘Halftime,’ and I was like, Goddam,I was a stupid ass for not touching this beat!”
Q-Tip’s Idea For “One Love” Was “My Summer Vacation”
Before the album, Nas had a record about sending letters to friends in prison and wondered why no one had done something like this before. Q-Tip suggested in the studio the idea of doing a song “where a kid reads a letter in class abou twhat he did during his summer vacation.” Nas had other plans….
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Source: Complex | Photo Credit: Getty Images