Dolled up in costumes that camped on masculine archetypes, the quintet sang paeans to sailors, cops and macho men in lyrics carefully crafted to pass. If only school were this much fun. Akin to Poindexter and Booger throwing a better shindig than the jocks in Revenge of the NerdsDevo whipped out a full, hot party on this classic synth blast from Take that, Ogre and Stan.
Leave it to Abdul—a well-known choreographer before she began her singing career—to know what makes a perfect dance-party tune. Pulsating beat, check; funky bassline, check; earworm chorus, check and check. Oh, oh, oh! The band described itself as Chic meets the Sex Pistols, but its bouncy sound was all its own: skittering drum beats, aqua-blue synth burbles and a galloping bassline courtesy of king pinup John Taylor. The Long Island native born Leslie Wunderman sounds positively voracious on her signature hit.
All together, now: murderer! Every British invasion arrives with an opening salvo. But never mind all that. Growing up, what was important about this song was what you did when you heard it. Pusha T rejecting this massive Hitboy-produced beat might have been for the best according to him it sounds like a video game because the star power from the respective husbands of Kim and Bey turned the guaranteed banger into a veritable club anthem.
And it's become a necessary party bonding activity, too: trashed guests inevitably screaming "that shit cray! The members of One Direction may still have been fighting through their teen years when this track was released, but they sure knew how to get people dancing.
Step aside, Aaron Carter; this banger signaled a new generation of boy bands, bigger and better than ever. We want prenup! Arm me with harmony. What's a hot girl summer?
Regardless of the season, it's about doing your thing and not caring what other people think. Megan Thee Stallion and her summer anthem, embody that ideal.
She brings the heat, and this song will make you want to just have a good time and not give a damn. Put on this track and everyone is the life of the party.
Even after its short-lived heyday, TNGHT remains one of electronic music's most potent recent matchups. Bass luminary Lunice's club-rattling beats make a viciously ferocious pairing with the recklessly maximalist synth-frenzy of Kanye-affiliated producer Hudson Mohawke. The single which launched them to trap-mainstay-status consists of just a few elements a looping vocal sample, seismic drums, and a stomping horn riff but together they can make a party sound undoubtedly enormous. No one can be held responsible for what transpires in the four minutes after the opening string melody of Sisqo's breakout single "Thong Song.
For a song about underwear that contains the lyrics "She had dumps like a truck" that's pretty impressive. Drake is an enigma wrapped in a riddle wrapped in another enigma wearing sweatpants. On the other: makes super-meta, hilarious, on-point videos like this one fromwhich mocks the very lifestyle it celebrates.
Avoid overheating your brain on conundrums like this by just turning your stereo up really loud, hitching up your low-slung trousers and throwing some shapes. This slamming track drove the energy levels skyward at many an indie club in the mids. Whale came together more by chance than a grand masterplan.
Two Swedish guys met while making a TV commercial, discovered a love of music and decided to collaborate. One of their girlfriends joined them to sing this bizarre, and potentially annoying, debut single.
It was certainly hard to ignore, with its screaming chorus juxtaposed with Cia Berg's otherworldly and childlike vocals. It became a European hit, thanks to MTV flogging the video there, and eventually the single was re-issued around the world in They would tour supporting the likes of Blur and Placebobut, byWhale disappeared beneath the surface, leaving behind this raucous sonic blast.
If you love 90s indie rock, this song will hook you from the first five seconds. That jangly-but-forceful guitar burst and Doug Martsch's distinctive vocal are like a slap in the face. Once you're hooked, you get a perfect singalong chorus, kinda kooky but totally relatable lyrics and, as Built To Spill do so well, some brilliant, off the wall guitar work.
Angie Hart was a big deal in Melbourne studio project Pop! This infectious, whimsical slice of synth pop injected so much joy into so many hearts. The simple, clever pop progression and that relentless snare drum gave it a real classic feel, helped by Hart's gorgeously warm voice. The synth dates it a little, but there's a certain charm to that as well. How can a song be both so tasteful and so filthy at once?
A big gospel choir, sweeping strings, understated wah-wah guitar and even some smooth vibraphone all set up a pretty classy bed. Then we hear the voice of Pulp frontman Jarvis Cockerand he defiles the whole thing. There are plenty of songs about masturbation, but none of them sound like this. In a career full of highs — MagazineThe Bad Seedsa hefty solo career just a few of them — Barry Adamson can count this as one of his most perplexing and clever.
Glenn Richards ' voice is so full of character and his lyrics, whatever your interpretation of them might be, is a brilliant snapshot of true love — perhaps lost, perhaps not. There's certainly a strong sense of yearning. Behind him, the band sways so elegantly, slowly building to a crescendo that'll stir the strongest of you.
We all know what became of Pixies, but fellow Boston band Throwing Muses should also be revered for their leftfield contributions to alt-rock. Led by two huge talents in Kristin Hersh and Tanya Donellythey were up to album number four when this single was released. It's typical of the band's twisted time signatures — thanks also to the original style of drummer David Narcizo — and Hersh's dark metaphors. Donelly, who played on The Breeders' first album, would leave soon after this to form Belly.
Hersh continued as Throwing Muses' sole songwriter, as well as simultaneously launching some gripping solo albums. Kudos to jazz bassist Alphonso Johnsonfamed for his work with the likes of Weather Report and Santana, for providing the sampled bassline that drives the song's compelling rhythm.
David Cronenberg's adaptation of William Burroughs' Naked Lunch also inspired, not just the opening and closing quotes on the track, but other lyrical references within it. GusGus were often dubbed Iceland's next big hope, tipped to follow in the global footsteps of their fellow countryfolk The Sugarcubes.
Their Polydistortion album blended warm, soulful tones with glacial electronics, and for a brief moment it looked like it might actually happen for GusGus. This is Screamfeeder at their all-guns-blazing best. From the furious down-strums of Tim Steward that open the track, to Dean Shwereb's furious drumming that closes it out, it's a relentless ride through a ton of great indie-rock ideas in just a few short minutes.
The way Steward and bassist Kellie Lloyd's voices intermingle in the chorus and the way that second verse bursts forth from the chorus will still stun and delight you, no matter how many hundreds of times you've played this perfect pop gem.
It also has one of the great low-budget 90s film clipsdirected by Lloyd and undoubtedly confusing the local convenience store clerk no end. Can you imagine what would happen if this song were released today? Twitter would go into meltdown. The song, written in tribute to former Chilean president Salvador Allenderemains breathtaking.
The similarities in their register means they go back and forth seamlessly, while the difference in their tone keeps the song sounding fresh. It is also a brilliant example of high-budget lates record production done right. Top peaks to December Ryan, Gavin Australia's Music Charts December 15, Retrieved December 15, Retrieved March 20, Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 12, Recording Industry Association of America.
September 6, British Phonographic Industry. Kent Reporter. March 11, Retrieved December 19, January 28, Retrieved March 1, Music Canada. Retrieved April 6, Archived from the original on December 19, In '05, 50 was also responsible for some of the best tracks in his career, albeit under someone else's name. The Game's debut, The Documentaryput him even more firmly in the conversation. The LP ultimately went double platinum after sellingcopies in its opening week.
Game's success, though, was split with 50 Cent, who was a major part of both singles; ironically, Game ended up with the stronger release, but 50 had scene-stealing verses and hooks on the album's biggest singles. Common, meanwhile, released one of the best records of his career in Bea major creative and unexpected commercial success. The rapper was signed to Kanye's G.
Music label the previous year and appeared on The College Dropout. Produced primarily by Kanye West with an assist from the recently deceased J. Dilla, Common's Be received 4.
It also became the rapper's second gold album, selling aroundunits. The album featured a cut called "Best Rapper Alive," which seemed like another empty boast, but Wayne wasn't being cocky—he just realized his arrival before the rest of us did. After Tha Carter IIWeezy started his absolutely ridiculous run, highlighted by Dedication 2 and his joint album with Birdman, Like Father, Like Sonboth of which featured some of the best rapping of his soon-to-be illustrious career.
More importantly, his mastery on the mic gave him the confidence to feel his way through any beat and interact with it as he saw fit. Once he started experimenting with more and more styles, the results were fascinating. With confidence came comfort, and with comfort Wayne's personality shined through as he talked more about his love of SportsCentermotorcycles, and all things New Orleans.
His rhymes made him famous, but his "Murder the adults and let the kids get adopted" approach to fame made him a superstar. Despite his great output sinceT. Prior to King he often leaned too far into the streets—despite his penchant for Billboard hits, songs like "You Don't Know Me" didn't quite cross over the way they should have.
His later hits like "Live Your Life" were massive but leaned too far into pop territory. But 's "What You Know" struck the perfect balance, as did his album King. Still, even if T. Whatever it lacked in commercial appeal, Hell Hath No Fury made up for in cold, mechanical raps. Pusha iced every one of his bars with detached debauchery and delivered them like he was about to hawk a loogie. The keys had opened doors, and suddenly King Push had hit the coke rap zenith. He might have been a newcomer, but as his impressive debut proved, h e could tell engrossing stories with pinpoint precision, adjust his cadence ever so slightly to give his words greater weight, and still sell a modest amount of records.
He not only kicked first-rate rhymes but pushed an image of a rapper more akin to Kanye than 50 Cent. A trend that would soon gain more momentum. Kanye West's career had been building toward this moment all along. Bythe stars had aligned and Yeezy became the epicenter of hip-hop, both sonically and artistically. Despite releasing two stellar albums in andhe was seen as a great producer and great songmaker but never a great MC. During the years when the rap zeitgeist was playing limbo with coke rappers, mixtape runs, and ringtone rap, Yeezy raised the bar up and got his bars up.
His humor was still present as he spit the most Kanye line ever: "I'm like the fly Malcolm X, buy any jeans necessary. No longer did he flub verses with over exposition. Whatever his words lacked in humility they made up for in maturity. His vocal performance was now poised and patient, characteristics best seen on cuts like " Flashing Lights ," where he employed a delicate nuance to his rhymes where a younger Kanye might have gone for a ham-fisted approach. Beyond his flow, 'Ye dropped his best songs ever, " Can't Tell Me Nothing ," and finally found what he always sorely lacked: a true street anthem.
With " Stronger ," Yeezy scored arguably his biggest hit ever, another testament to his crossover appeal and made Yeezy an early adapter to EDM. Still, it felt like this was happening right under our noses. When Kanye got into a highly publicized sales battle with 50 Cent, many believed he stood no chance against Curtis. Little did they realize 50's antics were starting to feel like an old Biggie line: "Fuck that beef shit, that shit is played out.
The album outsold 50's Curtis by a wide margin and not only proved Kanye was a cultural force but one who wasn't willing to settle. The guy that executives once told to stick to producing was now the Best Rapper Alive. Kanye must have realized it, too. As much as people think Kanye is obsessed with himself, in truth he's always been obsessed with challenging himself.
That might have something to do with why, as soon as people finally accepted his rapping, he abandoned it to move on to singing.
We only say that because otherwise Weezy killed it in '07, releasing about songs. The easy put down would have been "it was quantity over quality," but that's the thing about Wayne in his prime: Nearly everything he did was quality. There was always one random line or burst of flow that was worth hearing. The highlight was his spectacular double disc mixtape Da Drought 3which found Wayne blacking out over one instrumental after another.
Jay Z was having a resurgence of sorts as well. After seemingly losing a step after retiring and coming back with the disappointing Kingdom ComeJay got inspired by the film American Gangster and dropped an album of the same name. He wasn't rapping about anything he hadn't rapped about 10 years before, but the fact that he found yet another way to say something we'd already heard and make it compelling remains one of his most under-appreciated achievements.
Still, you couldn't shake the feeling that every time he dropped a verse it became the most talked about 16 of any given moment. Lil Wayne's commercial, creative and cultural ascent reached its peak inthe year he became a true crossover star and, without question, the greatest rapper alive.
It had been two years since his last album, but Weezy had flooded the industry, releasing a succession of hot street tapes and guest verses. First, his guest verses: Lil Wayne was a scene-stealing rap star, making his mark on T. But it was his work as a solo artist that made the biggest mark. His radio single, the Static Major—assisted "Lollipop," topped the pop charts, went five times platinum, and helped drive Carter III to 2.
Officer" reached No. By this point Weezy's claim to be the greatest living rapper on Tha Carter II no longer seemed nearly so audacious. Despite taking a "break" from official releases, his album went three times platinum, opening at No.
It became the rapper's best-selling album to that point. It was the first to reach 1 million in sales since The Massacre. As impressive as the numbers were, though, what made Lil Wayne the greatest rapper alive in transcended popularity.
He had broadened what was thought possible for a rapper. The boundaries of the genre were pushed to their logical breaking point. He was still rapping, retaining his innate cleverness and style, but had such intoxicated confidence that he didn't need to live by the formal limitations adhered to by lesser MCs.
And then, not content to rest on his laurels, he released Dedication 3another mixtape with DJ Drama, before the year let out. Despite the relative flop of T. The album, Paper Trailincluded two more major singles including another No. It was his second No. He also appeared on Usher's "Love in This Club," which would also find the top spot. He didn't regain the widespread commercial appeal that he had on his debut record, but the album was a creative success, particularly after the disappointment of 's The Inspiration.
Kanye West had a fairly low-key year inbut in the wake of Graduation 's release, he remained one of hip-hop's biggest stars. His final single from Graduation"Homecoming," was released, and he began working on his tortured melodic album s and Heartbreak.
But as a rapper, he kept the flame alive with a series of hugely popular guest verses, appearing on Estelle's "American Boy," Young Jeezy's "Put On," and T. In the wake of Lil Wayne's utter domination ofwas, to say the least, a rebuilding year. Kanye had become an Auto-Tune performance artist. Lil Wayne began pushing his Young Money crew, and into the void came a rush of rookie artists from across the spectrum. Amidst all the confusion, a veteran stepped up and released the biggest single of his career.
When you're the best rapper alive, and you release your most successful single ever, it's hard for the mantle not to fall to you. Hov also proved that he'd retained his nimble technical abilities; love it or hate it, he was still the most envied rapper in hip-hop.
Part of that was a result of his business moves. After appearing at the president's inauguration, Jay crossed over in a way no rapper had previously, unless you count Eazy-E's visit to the White House. But after all is said and done it all comes down to the music.
While his first single, "D. Death of Auto-Tune " had some chart success despite its obvious failings as prophecyits follow-up singles were two of the biggest of Jay's career.
Then the monster that was "Empire State of Mind" took over, becoming Jay's biggest-ever hit and sitting atop the Billboard charts for five consecutive weeks. There are few acts able to retain that level of success this deep into a career, but for Jay, even in the twilight era, consistency has been his trademark.
Drake, meanwhile, had begun to show signs that he was really about to be that successful. Rounding out the honorable mentions is Gucci Mane, easily the most prolific artist on this list. He rose up from his rabble-rousing grassroots, flooding the market without over-saturating it, releasing a handful of mixtapes that are now considered classics, including Writings on the Wall and Burrrprint: The Movie 3Dwhile his singles "Wasted" and "Lemonade" had considerable chart traction.
Can we get much higher? InKanye West made a triumphant return to rapping full time. Lost in the hype of his post-Swiftgate comeback was the fact that Kanye wasn't just the best rapper alive but also the best rapper he's ever been. Yeezy reached the height of his technical proficiency. Gone were the pesky lapses of supreme competency where he uttered "Funny when you thought of them but only to you" type lines.
Instead it was all genuine wit with rhymes like "Got caught with 30 rocks the cop looked like Alec Baldwin.
Ye's G. Friday releases kept him consistently anticipated week to week, and when My Be autiful Dark Twisted Fantasy finally did arrive it was hailed as an instant classic and arguably Kanye's best album.
Instead, he was able to coax inspired performances from Nicki Minaj and Rick Ross, the latter Raw Power (2) - After Your Brain (Vinyl whom saw his growth as a rapper reach its apex on "Devil in a New Dress. But the nearly flawless Teflon Don — supercharged with the street anthem of the year "B. Yet, the verse of the year belonged to Nicki Minaj, whose manic energy on "Monster" took her from buzzing to being invited on stage with Jay Z and Kanye West at Yankee Stadium.
Chilling backstage while Jay, 'Ye, and Nicki performed "Monster," a rejuvenated Eminem was returning to the forefront of the rap conversation after kicking his drug habit, abandoning the accents, and dropping the well received Recovery.
Bill Simmons once called LeBron James the car wash "everything" package, saying, "You see an athlete get handed the 'everything' package maybe only five times in your life. When Drake emerged on the scene in he was more than just a rapper with crossover potential—just like LeBron is more than a 6'8" dude with a jump shot—he was a rapper with superstar potential. So Far Gone put Drake on the map in '09, and his debut album, Thank Me Laterwas released in a stacked hip-hop year.
But Drake didn't claim his championship ring until rolled around. After the dust of settled, Drake unceremoniously started rolling out songs on his OVO blog. Every release, from "Dreams Money Can Buy" to "Club Paradise" to "Marvin's Room," instantly became an event—and some of the most discussed songs of the year.
So much so that end-of-the-year Best of lists had to leave off Drake cuts, lest he overwhelm the lists by the sheer quantity of his quality output. Drake was so hot he gave away that year's summer anthem and one of his best songs ever to DJ Khaled "I'm on One" and it didn't even hurt the quality of his album, Take Care. Coming late that year, h is sophomore set showed that Drizzy had many skills but his greatest gift was his ability to internalize his struggles and make them universal.
Call it "emo" if you like, but feeling regret over a lost lover, feeling proud of your accomplishments, and feeling like you're the best but still have 10 years left is what we ought to expect from brash young men. With Take Care, we finally got to witness the full breadth of his undeniable talent. Suddenly, the throne was no longer for the taking. Similar to 50 Cent inRoss didn't put out a ton of solo material, but his Ashes to Ashes mixtape was released in the closing days of and carried into as he prepped Maybach Music Group's Self Made Vol.
Even in an off year, Drake was on one. And even without those songs Drake was still an omnipotent force in hip-hop who dominated the rap conversation.
Jay Z once boasted, "For the right price I can even make yo shit tighter. Drizzy unleashed one monster guest verse after another and gave away Billboard hits that introduced buzzing artists to a wider audience. Rule of thumb: You're definitely in the Best Rapper Alive conversation if people will listen to any artist's song just because you're on it.
And if you can make any song you're on a possible anthem, then you probably are the Best Rapper Alive. To understand his impact, consider that even throwaway lines like "Good ain't good enough" sparked intense debate about perceived shots at G. More importantly, consider that if Drake had strapped together all his major guest verses and added a couple of strong solo cuts, he would've had a third album better than most rap releases last year.
Honorable Mentions: Kendrick Lamar, 2 Chainz, Rick Ross We have no knock against Kendrick Lamar but are obliged to point out that he was relatively quiet for most of before dropping good kid, m. However, last year more and more fans got hip to his stellar release, Section. Still, most were left wondering if K-Dot could pull off a classic debut.
But more on that later. LP, 2 Chainz' momentum from 's T. Music's "Mercy" and had Kanye telling him to start charging K for a You know you're having a special year when you not only spit the last verse on the premier posse cut but Kanye is the one who throws up the alley. Not that it really mattered.
Ross still ran the rap game with an iron fist and gave us Rich Foreverone of his best overall projects, at the top of the year. Still, for the first time sinceit felt like Rozay's reach wasn't continually expanding but contracting ever so slightly. Kendrick Lamar spent most of crafting his masterful debut album, good kid, m.
The release of good kid cemented Kendrick's status as the Best Rapper Alive and earned comparisons to other legends who jump-started their careers with unforgettable major-label debuts. It wasn't just a great album, it was a great conceptual album with a storyline throughout—a Herculean hip-hop feat.
As the critical praise poured in and K-Dot fans supported their artist—a music-biz mantra that's more often said than followed—a mainstream audience slowly started to appreciate this West Coast rapper with left-field sensibilities to the point where hip-hop as a whole started looking at him differently. Kendrick's breakthrough comes at a time when rap fans are inundated with new rappers who overpopulate the blog posts; the few who are worth the time rarely if ever fulfill the promise of their initial offerings.
But Kendrick lives up to all the hype. No one thought the analogy was far off. Time for everybody to bow down to King Kendrick Lamar ya bish! Will K-Dot's reign on top be shorter than leprechauns? For Drake, once again the throne is for the taking. So we used that first verse. And that was when he was up and coming, his first album. So we was like, 'Yo, this guy is gonna be big. State of Mind " . Prior to recording, DJ Premier had listened to Nas' debut single, later stating "When I heard 'Halftime', that was some next shit to me.
It just had that type of effect. As simple as it is, all of the elements are there. So from that point, after Serch Raw Power (2) - After Your Brain (Vinyl me about doing some cuts, it was automatic. You'd be stupid to pass that up even if it wasn't payin' no money. It wasn't a situation where his beats fit their rhymes, they fit each other. The song also features Brooklyn -based rapper AZ.
In an early promotional interview, Nas claimed that the name "Illmatic" meaning "beyond ill" or "the ultimate" was a reference to his incarcerated friend, Illmatic Ice. It's as ill as ill gets.
That shit is a science of everything ill. That's how it feels, that's what it is. For all the ones that think it's all about some ruff shit, talkin' about guns all the time, but no science behind it, we gonna bring it to them like this. But once people started hearing that and liking it, that's what built my confidence. I thought, 'OK, I can probably do this. To be the only person featured on Illmatic when Nas is considered one of the top men in New York at that time, one of the freshest new artists, that was big.
Concerning the recording of the album's opening song " N. He's got the beat running in the studio, but he doesn't know how he's going to format how he's going to convey it. So he's going, 'I don't know how to start this shit,' and I'm counting him in [to begin his verse]. One, two, three. And then you can hear him go, 'Yo,' and then he goes right into it.
Illmatic contains discerning treatment of its subject matter: gang rivalriesdesolation, and the ravages of urban poverty. My soul was trapped in Queensbridge projects. It wasn't about being a rap star; it was about anything other than. I want you to know who I am: what the streets taste like, feel like, smell like.
What the cops talk like, walk like, think like. What crackheads do — I wanted you to smell it, feel it. It was important to me that I told the story that way because I thought that it wouldn't be told if I didn't tell it. I thought this was a great point in time in the s in [New York City] that needed to be documented and my life needed to be told. When depicting life in the projects, Nas alternates from moments of pain and pleasure to frustration and braggadocio.
The only light is the orange glow of a bluntbodega liquor, and the adolescent rush of first creation. Sometimes his pen taps the paper and his brain blanks. In the next sentence, he remembers dark streets and the noose.
But they always remain within the walls of his Queensbridge home. Along with its narratives, Illmatic is also distinct Album) its many portrayals and descriptions of places, people, and interactions. Many of the themes found in Illmatic revolve around Nas' experience living in an environment where poverty, violence, and drug use abound. Throughout the s and early s, residents of Queensbridge experienced intense violence, as the housing development was overrun by the crack epidemic.
Illmatic contains imagery inspired by this prevalence of street crime. In "N. State of Mind", Nas details the trap doors, rooftop snipers, street corner lookouts, and drug dealers that pervade his urban dreamscape. Hence, Raw Power (2) - After Your Brain (Vinyl uses metaphoric violence as a central trope of his poetic. The content of Illmatic is also informed by notions of artistic authenticity.
We didn't just grow up with hip hop; we grew up with hip hop as hip hop was also growing, and so that made for a very close and intimate relationship that was becoming more and more urgent — and we felt it. Our art was being challenged in many ways as the moneymen began to sink their teeth into us. In the context of this debate, music writers have interpreted Illmatic as an admonishment for hip hop purists and practitioners.
In addition to its lyrical content, many writers have commented on the thematic significance of Illmatic ' s musical endowments.
He is repping his borough 's hip hop canon. Music writers have also characterized the album's contents as a commentary on hip hop's evolution. Nas has the raw lyrics of old schoolers, the expert deejaying and artful lyricism of the s, the slice of hood life, and the mythic The history of hip-hop up to is embodied in Illmatic.
Princeton University professor Eddie S. Glaude Jr. After the music of Wild Style is unwittingly rejected by one of his peers, Nas admonishes his friend about the importance of their musical roots. Kenny Waste suggests that embedded deep within this track "is a complex and subtle exposition on the themes of Illmatic. The sonic vignette comments on the collective memory of the hip hop community and its real, remembered, and even imagined beginning, as well as the pitfalls of assimilationthe importance of history, and the passing of hip-hop's 'age of innocence'.
Illmatic has been noted by music writers for Nas' unique style of delivery and poetic substance. I rap for listeners, blunt heads, fly ladies and prisoners Hennessy holders and old school niggas, then I be dissin a Unofficial that smoke woolie thai I dropped out of Cooley High, gassed up by a cokehead cutie pie Jungle survivor, fuck who's the liver My man put the battery in my back, a difference from Energizer Sentence begins indented, with formality My duration's infinite, money-wise or physiology Poetry, that's a part of me, retardedly bop I drop the ancient manifested hip-hop, straight off the block I reminisce on park jams, my man was shot for his sheep coat Chocolate blunts made me see him drop in my weed smoke.
The buddha monk's in your trunk, turn the bass up Not stories by Aesop, place your loot up, parties I shoot up Nas, I analyze, drop a jew-el, inhale from the L School a fool well, you feel it like braille It ain't hard to tell, I kick a skill like Shaquille holds a pill Vocabulary spills I'm Ill plus Matic, I freak beats slam it like Iron Sheik Jam like a TEC with correct techniques So analyze me, surprise me, but can't magmatize me Scannin' while you're plannin' ways to sabotage me I leave em froze like her-on in your nose Nas'll rock well, it ain't hard to tell.
Focusing on poetic forms found in his lyrics, Princeton University professor Imani Perry describes Nas' performance as that of a "poet-musician" indebted to the conventions of jazz poetry. These portraits of his brain and community in handcuffs are beautiful, brutal and extremely complex, and they lend themselves to the complex and brilliantly compounded rhyme schemes he employs.
Illmatic also garnered praise for its production. A potent treat. The majority of the album consists of vintage funk, soul, and jazz samples. Nas invites his rolling stone father, Olu Dara to blow the trumpet coda on "Life's a Bitch". Jazz rap fusion had been done well prior, but rarely with such subtlety.
Nas didn't need to make the connection explicit—he allowed you to understand what jazz was like the first time your parents and grandparents heard it. The intro, "The Genesis", is composed as an aural montage that begins with the sound of an elevated train and an almost-inaudible voice rhyming beneath it. Over these sounds are two men arguing. The train is shorthand for New York; the barely discernible rap is, in fact, his "Live at the Barbeque" verse; and the dialogue comes from Wild Styleone of the earliest movies to focus on hip hop culture.
Each of these is a point of genesis. These are my roots, Nas was saying, and he proceeded to demonstrate exactly what those roots had yielded. Setting the general grimy, yet melodic, tone of the album,  " N. State of Mind " features a dark, jazzy piano sample courtesy of DJ Premier. State of Mind" have Nas recounting his participation in gang violence and philosophizing that "Life is parallel to Hellbut I must maintain", while his rapping spans over forty bars.
State of Mind" focuses on a mindstate that a person obtains from living in Nas' impoverished environment. In other songs on IllmaticNas celebrates life's pleasures and achievements, acknowledging violence as a feature of his socio-economic conditions rather than the focus of his life. State of Mind". The nostalgic "Memory Lane Sittin' in da Park " contains a Reuben Wilson sample, which comprises the sound of a Hammond organguitar, vocals and percussion,  and adds to the track's ghostly harmonies.
Professor Sohail Daulatzai views this labeling as significant, since it transforms Illmatic into "a sonic map. My record company had to beg me to stop filmin' music videos in the projects. No matter what the song was about I had 'em out there. That's what it was all about for me, being that kid from the projects, being a poster child for that, that didn't exist back then.
The album cover of Illmatic features a picture of Nas as a child, which was taken after his father, Olu Darareturned home from an overseas tour. The accepted cover, designed by Aimee Macauley, features a photo of Nas as a child superimposed over a backdrop of a city block,  taken by Danny Clinch.
That's the year everything set off. That's the year I started seeing the future for myself and doing what was right. The ghetto makes you think. The world is ours. I used to think I couldn't leave my projects. I used to think if I left, if anything happened to me, I thought it would be no justice or I would be just a dead slave or something.
The projects used to be my world until I educated myself to see there's more out there. On my album cover, you see me with the afro, that was kind of inspired by Michael Jackson — the little kid picture. Since its release, the cover art of Illmatic has also gained an iconic reputation — having been subject to numerous parodies and tributes. The lead single, "Halftime", only charted on the Hot Rap Singles chart at number 8, while "Life's a Bitch" did not chart at all.
Illmatic was met with widespread acclaim from critics,  many of whom hailed it as a masterpiece.
Ilgi, Ātri, Klusi, Skaļi - Imants Kalniņš & Ainars Mielavs - Par Lietām, Kuras Tā Ar Nekad Nepār, Le Maitinade Del Nane Periot - Coro Della S.A.T. - Flashback (CD, Album), KMFDM - Symbols (CD, Album), Cursif, Network Patrol - Nikita Franklin - Action Tension (CD, Album), Another Time And Place - Various - Kerrville Folk Festival: The Silverwolf Years (CD), 指‖折り‖数え（詠唱編) - canooooopy - フレイジャーズ・フォリー短篇集 (File, Album), Comfort Ye, My People - Kenneth McKellar - Handel (Vinyl), Sonic Youth - Rare Tracks Vol 2 (Vinyl, LP), Penelopes Problem - David Chesworth Ensemble - Badlands (CD, Album), Billy Joel - Glass Houses (Cassette, Album), Good Luck Charm - ELVIS PRESLEY - ELVIS GOLDEN RECORD UNIQUE COVER MALAYSIA LP (Vinyl, LP)