Twenty years ago, the upstart MC and Queens native Nas burst onto the hip-hop scene with his groundbreaking debut album, “Illmatic.” With its deft lyricism, rugged beats and unblinking view of life in the Queensbridge projects, the album was hailed as an instant classic and set the tone for East Coast rap for years to come.
Two decades later, the legacy of “Illmatic” endures — and is set to be burnished by the forthcoming documentary “Time Is Illmatic,” which has released a new trailer (watch it above).
Set for release Oct. 1 from Tribeca Film, “Time Is Illmatic” traces Nas’ hardscrabble inner-city upbringing, his musical influences (including his jazz musician father, Olu Dara) and the obstacles he faced before signing to a major label at age 20 and changing the hip-hop game.
“I gave you what the streets felt like, sounded like, tasted like,” Nas (born Nasir Jones) says in the trailer.
Directed by One9 and written by Erik Parker, the documentary features interviews with Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes, Pharrell Williams, Alicia Keys and other key music-world figures.
As part of his extended “Illmatic” anniversary celebration, Nas is embarking on a 14-date tour during which he’ll screen the documentary and perform the album in full. The tour comes to the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles on Oct. 18.
Nas has also issued “Illmatic XX,” a commemorative edition of the album with remastered tracks, rare remixes and unreleased demos and freestyles.
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