Home Tech Nas’ ‘Illmatic’ was the beginning of the end of the album

Nas’ ‘Illmatic’ was the beginning of the end of the album

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Nas' 'Illmatic' was the beginning of the end of the album

Music consumption and debate in 2024 bear little resemblance to the fandom of a decade ago, let alone three or four. Old songs get new life on TikTok; AI creates original music based on data from the world’s most popular artists; drilling rappers He publishes a song on YouTube on Tuesday and by Friday it is already playing in the dormitories of elite universities.

Many have wondered how this digital ecosystem influences the buying and selling of music. But a related question has largely escaped research: How does it affect the way music is honored and remembered? Few albums demonstrate the stark contrasts in musical appreciation as well as Nas’ 1994 genre definition. ilmaticwidely recognized as one of the most important albums ever made.

Today, the 30th anniversary of its release, offers an opportunity to reflect not only on the album, but also on how the modern music industry and the technology that drives it (streaming, social media, artificial intelligence) has changed the landscape in ways that can help preserve your legacy.

ilmaticThe launch initially went unnoticed. There were no major release parties covered by MTV or VH1, no cover stories on Rolling Stone or striking features in The New York Times, Nas’ local newspaper. It sold only a few thousand copies in its first week and did not reach platinum status until 2001, years after their sophomore effort (1996). It was written) had done it.

However, in musical circles the praise for ilmatic It arrived almost instantly. For example, she got one of Fountainis elusive “5 microphones” ratings, designated for instant “hip-hop classics.” In the decades since, he has steadily racked up accolades. ilmatic It ranks high on many lists of the greatest albums of all time (in any genre) and, in 2021, was the first hip-hop album to be included on the list. Library of Congress.

These recognitions tell only part of the story, since their informal influence is much greater. It is so appreciated ilmatic that the album title is now used to describe a musician’s defining work (one might ask: “Is it Mom’s gun Erykah Badu’s ilmatic?”). Its importance even transcends music: the famous album cover, featuring Nasir Jones as a child, with a photograph of Queensbridge Houses as a backdrop, has inspired visual artists.

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For years, scholars and fans have examined ilmatic looking for an explanation of what made it work. The answers are multiple, but they converge on some factors. On the one hand, there is opportune timing. ilmatic is one of the defining albums of hip-hop’s unofficial golden age (sometime between 1988 and 1996), when the art form achieved enormous commercial success, geographic (and sonic) diversity, a global footprint, and a large influx of talented lyricists, producers. and tastemakers, almost all raised during the early days of hip-hop.

This developed in ilmaticThe production style of, with an ensemble cast of producers creating an expansive yet cohesive soundscape. Then, of course, there are the lyrics. Nas’ words were a magical elixir, a mix of Kool G Rap, Rakim, The Last Poets and William Shakespeare. It was a mix that listeners had never heard before (and possibly haven’t since).

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