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Nas Talks About New Documentary Based Around Anniversary of His Classic Album Illmatic
Posted by Jeffrey Harris on 04.17.2014



THR recently interviewed rapper Nas and others at the opening of Time Is Illmatic, a documentary based around the 20th anniversary of Nas' classic album Illmatic at the 13th annual Tribeca Film Festival on Wednesday (April 16). Below are some highlights:

Nas on rediscovering his own release with a fresh perspective for the anniversary project: "I think when it originally came out, I was so out of it -- like, gone, in this party state -- that I didn't get a chance to enjoy much of it. Now, I enjoy it a lot more."

Nas on getting involved with the documentary: "I don't think it's easy to get involved with a film that's about your life -- it was hard for me to do everything I did that was about my life, but they broke me out of that. I don't know what's going to happen or what people are gonna think, and that's the exciting part about it … I'm happy I did it. I love those guys; they opened up my world and I'm forever grateful."

Director One9 on the project and Nas' album: "Any type of music that stands the test of time -- whether it be a classic Miles Davis album or Marvin Gaye -- those albums reflect the time period, and they also speak to generations past it. Illmatic was a voice for the voiceless. This film covers a lot of people who aren't here anymore, and people you never get to hear from. He speaks that language without preaching to you, but you feel it in your soul."

Wale on Nas' influence: "From his lyrics and the way he conducts himself -- being able to write a song backwards, or from the perspective of a gun, pushing the envelope from a creative standpoint -- my hat tips off to him and I want to follow those footsteps." Wu-Tang Clan's Raekwon the Chef called Illmatic "one of New York's anthem albums." Quoting Nas' lyrics, he continued, "He's a 'golden child' -- he presented himself as an emcee format in a formal way, and he delivers, twenty years later."

Festival co-founder Robert De Niro on the documentary: "This film tells the story of the making of an artist, and the making of an album in our hometown. This film celebrates the twentieth anniversary of Illmatic, twenty years since I was officially twenty years too old to be listening to rap."

Nas on his performance of the album with Alicia Keys on piano after the screening and it's personal significance: "It felt like Illmatic times. Before Diddy was Diddy, and all of us made real names for ourselves, we were still just breaking the ice in a lot of places and territories. To be back, and to be there, older, was great."





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