Nas - Illmatic XX

Among people who are dorks about rap music (hi!), Nas’s 1994 debut Illmatic is almost universally regarded as a near-unimpeachable classic of the form, and quite possibly the general-consensus best rap album ever made. If you can read headlines or do basic math, you’ve probably already figured out that Illmatic turns 20 this year, and Nas intends to celebrate the occasion. This spring, he’ll release a deluxe Illmatic reissue called Illmatic XX, and it’ll include previously rare or unreleased music like demos, remixes, and a 1993 freestyle from The Stretch & Bobbito Show. You can stream “It Ain’t Hard To Tell (Stink Mix),” previously a UK B-side, at RapGenius. Below, we’ve got the Illmatic XX tracklist and more news of the Illmatic festivities.

Another bit of business: Nas is planning a tour where he’ll perform Illmatic in full every night. Somehow, he hasn’t done this before, and it should be good. Illmatic is more of a headphones records than a communal wild-out thing, but Nas is a strong and precise live rapper, and since the album only has one guest verse (AZ on “Life’s A Bitch”), it shouldn’t be hard to recreate with minimal disruption. Also, it’s a short album — just 40 minutes — so Nas will have plenty of time to do “Hate Me Now” and “Made You Look” as encores if he wants. Nas hasn’t announced any dates yet, but his two Coachella dates are part of the tour, and he’ll also hit D.C.’s Kennedy Center. Also, the director One9 and the writer Erik Parker are putting together a documentary called Time Is Illmatic; it’ll explore the context that led to the album’s creation.

TRACKLIST:

CD1 (original album, remastered):
01 “The Genesis”
02 “N.Y. State Of Mind”
03 “Life’s A Bitch”
04 “The World Is Yours”
05 “Halftime”
06 “Memory Lane (Sittin’ In Da Park)”
07 “One Love”
08 “One Time 4 Your Mind”
09 “Represent”
10 “It Ain’t Hard To Tell”

CD2 (bonus material):
01 “I’m A Villain”
02 “The Stretch Armstrong And Bobbito Show On WKCR, October 28, 1993″
03 “Halftime (Butcher Remix)”
04 “It Ain’t Hard To Tell (Remix)”
05 “One Love (LG Main Mix)”
06 “Life’s A Bitch (Arsenal Mix)”
07 “One Love (One L Main Mix)”
08 “The World Is Yours (Tip Mix)”
09 “It Ain’t Hard To Tell (The Stink Mix)”
10 It Ain’t Hard To Tell (The Laidback Remix)”

Illmatic XX is out 4/15 on Sony Legacy.

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Comments (4)
  1. This is pretty cool, although I’m fairly sure when I saw Nas on the Streets Disciple tour he did a verse or two from every Illmatic track in album order!

  2. Ooooh yes, will be picking this up! Illmatic and Tribe’s Midnight Marauders are my two fav hip-hop albums of all time

  3. Anybody else think it was gonna be green day covers I’ll magic when looking at the picture

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