Hold Fast - The Foul English - The Foul English (Vinyl, LP, Album)

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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 for 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, he 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 Hold Fast - The Foul English - The Foul English (Vinyl 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, [52] " 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, [52] 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, [38] 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, [84] many of whom hailed it as a masterpiece.

Jones IV cited his lyrics as "the most urgent poetry since Public Enemy " and also commended Nas for honestly depicting dismal ghetto life without resorting to the sensationalism and misogyny of contemporary gangsta rappers. Some reviewers were less impressed. Heidi Siegmund of the Los Angeles Times found most of Illmatic hampered by "tired attitudes and posturing", and interpreted its acclaim from East Coast critics as "an obvious attempt to wrestle hip-hop away from the West".

Upon its release, The Source gave Illmatic a five mic rating, [82] their highest rating and a prestigious achievement at the time, [87] given the magazine's influence in the hip hop community. It's about 9pm… I get to the office and I gather all the heads in the conference room.

Everyone is nodding their heads, eyes wide, mouths open, it's hip-hop paradise. We had a pretty shitty system in there but it didn't matter, I pop in the tape and the powerful musical magic emits from the speakers. None of us can. It's the best shit we've heard in our lives… Internally, we start debating how we're gonna handle this. I say right away that it's gotta get a "5". Eventually, the review for Illmatic was handled by the magazine's columnist Miss Info real name Minya Oh, then writing under the nom de plume "shortie"who shared Schecter's enthusiasm for Nas' album.

In her review of IllmaticOh wrote, "I must maintain, this is one of the best hip-hop albums I have ever heard" and wrote of its content, "Lyrically, the whole shit is on point.

No cliche metaphors, no gimmicks. Never too abstract, never superficial. All this may sound like melodrama, but it's not just me. I've been hearing similar responses all over. At the time, it was unheard of for a debuting artist to receive the coveted rating. I mean, we are not only saying that a particular piece of music is superior to everything that is out now, but it will be better than most things released in the future as well [ But everyday, Jon was like, 'yo, this album is 5 mics — seriously, Reg, 5 mics!

The rating did not come without its share of controversy. Dre 's groundbreaking The Chronic failed to earn the coveted rating, despite redefining the musical landscape of hip hop.

It was later revealed that while everybody at the magazine knew it was an instant classic, they decided to comply with the strict policy of staying away from a perfect rating. And if I hadn't gone through what I did with The ChronicI wouldn't have had the flexibility to allow for the bending of my policy.

So I think it all worked out well. Since its initial reception, Illmatic has been viewed by music writers as one of the quintessential hip hop recordings of the s, while its rankings near the top of many publications' "best album" lists in disparate genres have given it a reputation as one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time.

Illmatic is the best hip-hop record ever made. Not because it has ten great tracks with perfect beats and flawless rhymes, but because it encompasses everything great about hip-hop that makes the genre worthy of its place in music history. Stylistically, if every other hip-hop record were destroyed, the entire genre could be reconstructed from this one album.

In Illmaticyou find the meaning not just of hip-hop, but of music itself: the struggle of youth to retain its freedom, which is ultimately the struggle of man to retain his own essence. Illmatic has been included in numerous publications' "best album" lists in disparate genres. Illmatic has been noted as one of the most influential hip hop albums of all time, with pundits describing it as an archetypal East Coast hip hop album.

The alembic of soul jazz samples, SPsbroken nose breaks, and raw rap distilled the Hennyno chaser ideal of boom bap. So back then you couldn't tell in the sales, but you could tell in the streets". Following the album's release, hip hop artists increasingly began to draw upon a broad stable of producers for their projects.

At the time, the assembly of big-name producers was unprecedented, since most hip hop albums had primarily been the work of one dedicated producer and sometimes an embedded production team. That formula, most successfully mined by the late Notorious B. Hard Knock Lifeis what most N. Yet while hip-hop artists continue to draw upon this template for album production, the practice has earned some criticism. In an article titled, "How Nas' "Illmatic" Ruined Hip-Hop," Insanul Ahmed of Complex argues that one "unintended consequence" of Illmatic was the overall decline in the cohesion and quality of rap albums: "Next thing you knew, rap albums started having a different producer for every song.

And like a film that has a different director for every scene, albums became unfocused affairs. This also meant that producers weren't tied to artists anymore. What's funny about it was he was humble with it. I would listen to it and the songs were so ill, it made you wanna cry. He was just calm, like, 'How you like it? Everybody was going crazy. You could not walk through the 'hood without hearing Illmatic. It was on your brain. Illmatic is also credited with reviving the Queensbridge rap scene.

In an April article, an XXL columnist wrote of the history and impact of the Queensbridge hip hop scene, stating "Since the s, New York City's Queensbridge Housing Projects has been documented perhaps better than any other geographic location.

Starting with super producer Marley Marl's dominant Juice Crew in the '80s all the way through '90s mainstays like Nas, Cormega and Caponethe Bridge has produced the highest per-capita talent of any 'hood. Knowing these guys out in the neighborhood.

At that time, the Queensbridge scene was dead. Dropping that album right there said a lot for me to carry on the legacy of the Queensbridge pioneers. Following Illmatic' s release, Queensbridge returned to prominence after years of obscurity, with the ascendancy of the influential hardcore rap group, Mobb Deep who gained credibility due to their affiliation with Nas and later with the emergence of the trend-setting duo, Capone-n-Noreaga.

AZ, who gained instant exposure and underground credibility due to his appearance on "Life's a Bitch", became a frequent collaborator of Nas, who appeared on his debut album Doe or Die Illmatic was one of the first major recordings to emerge from New York's burgeoning hardcore hip hop scene, at a time when much of East Coast hip hop was still dominated by alternative hip hop acts such as A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul groups often known for their jazz -inspired production and playful sensibilities.

Adam Heimlich of The New York Press comments on the appeal of alternative hip-hop in New York City's music sceneand points out that, "Inthere appeared likely to be more money and definitely more cultural rewards in working with Arrested Development or Digable Planets.

Heimlich cites Nas' role in the resurgent hardcore movement, writing: "[Nas] came on the scene as hardcore's golden child. Those three The critical acclaim surrounding the album also helped to shift attention away from the melodious, synth -driven, and funk -induced G-funk subgenre, which dominated the charts for some time after Dr. Dre 's The Chronic Yet according to writer Mickey Hess, Illmatic was among those East Coast records that helped "create sparse, rough and rugged soundscapes that clearly differed from Dre's multi-layered melodies.

This wasn't a backyard bikini barbeque where the Ohio Players and DJ Quik were mashed up; this was a three-month bid on Rikers Islanda dirty dice game, blunts of brown Brooklyn sparked in the park after dark.

Despite these regional differences, Hampton credits Illmatic with providing a common artistic ground for rappers on the West Coast and East Coast rap scenes. Around this time, she received an advance-copy of Illmatic and immediately dubbed a cassette version for Tupac, who became "an instant convert" of the album.

The next day, she writes, Tupac "arrived in his assigned courtroom blasting Illmatic so loudly that the bailiff yelled at him to turn it off before the judge took his seat on the bench. During the time of its release, Illmatic brought a renewed focus on lyricism to hip hop—hearkening back to the heyday of Kool G RapBig Daddy Kaneand Rakim.

Nas, the poetic sage of the Queensbridge projects, was hailed as the second coming of Rakim—as if the first had reached his expiration date. Illmatic LP on its own terms. The sublime lyricism of the CD, combined with the fact that it was delivered into the crucible of the boiling East-West conflict, quickly solidified [his] reputation as the premier writer of his time. Despite its initial low sales, the album had a profound impact on the hip hop underground circuit, and marked a major stylistic change in hip hop music by introducing a new standard of lyricism.

One was characterized by a fast-paced ragga -flow accompanied with a whimsical, often nonsensical lyrical delivery, and had been popularized by the Brooklyn -based groups Das EFX and The Fu-Schnickens. Many rappers have taken note of Illmatic' s influence on their lyricism. He murdered that. The whole Illmatic album forced you to go ahead and do shit It was Album).

He's one of the reasons I did go off into storytelling because his pictures were so vivid. When he displayed his rhyme schemes and his word play and his songs, it made me wanna create visual pictures as well. I didn't get onto to it till late, but when I did, that's probably the only thing I listened to for six months to a year That's when I really tried to sharpen my skills and get better.

In addition to his rappingNas achieved significance for his poetic use of language. His spoken-word like delivery LP his vivid Album) of metaphor placed him at the top of the game in terms of overall skills as an MC and as a cultural commentator.

These become tropes in a burgeoning school of Hold Fast - The Foul English - The Foul English (Vinyl letters that's moving toward an aesthetics of hip-hop poetics. Many of the poetic tropes found in Illmatic have also become terms and phrases within hip-hop lexicon. Even the word "Illmatic" itself [ Over the last 19 years, a million secret handshakes and scratched hooks have been executed to lines from Illmatic.

Many respected mainstream and underground rappers have acknowledged Illmatic ' s influence. These wide range of artists include the battle rappersSunN. Malice, a member of the hip hop duo, claimed: " Illmatic captured the whole New York state of mind for me. It embraced everything I knew New York to be. The album had 10 songs, all of them flawless. Me and my homies got great memories of rolling around listening to that, huslin', smokin', chillin'.

That embodied everything that was right with hip-hop. That CD never came out my deck. Eighteen years later it remains omnipotent. InMarc Mac of the electronic music duo 4heroproduced a cover version of "The World Is Yours" as part of his jazz and hip-hip fusion project, The Visioneers.

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