The TriBeCa Film Festival premiered Time Is Illmatic, a feature documentary that looks back at the genesis of hip-hop star Nas’ seminal debut album, Illmatic. The premiere featured notables from hip-hop and Hollywood, including Wu-Tang Clan rhymer Raekwon, Maybach Music star Wale and Academy Award winner Robert De Niro.
“[It’s been] 20 years since I was officially 20 years too old to admit I’ve listened to hip-hop,” De Niro said.
Illmatic is turning 20 years old this month, and the film examines the then-21 year old rapper’s upbringing in the Queensbridge Projects; and how much things have changed since 1994.
The documentary features commentary from important figures in Nas’ hip-hop career; including Illmatic contributors Q-Tip and Large Professor, who produced tracks on the album. Q-Tip and Nas recently performed “One Love,” one of Illmatic’s most acclaimed tracks, on “The Arsenio Hall Show.” Parker says that it’s important to examine how things have evolved, but we also must take note of what hasn’t changed in the Queensbridge Projects over the last two decades.
“If you look at conditions then and now, not much has changed for the people Nas represented. But so much has changed in the world,” Parker told Entertainment Weekly. “What was important for us to tell is that Nas is a genius, but he’s one of just a few that made it out.”