‘Illmatic’ turns 20; how Nas ignited a new generation of MCs

It was 20 years ago today that Nas released his seminal debut album, Illlmatic. It wasn’t the huge crossover hit that, say, The Chronic or Doggystyle had been in the previous years. And it didn’t quite re-ignite the East Coast’s hardcore aesthetic, either; acts like Redman, Onyx, Das EFX, Black Moon had started doing that as early as 1992. But what Illmatic did was introduce the world to a thoughtful and gifted rhyme-writer from the Queensbridge Projects, and in doing so, it returned the traditional New York City emcee to hip-hop prominence.

From ‘Janet’ to ‘Enter the Wu-Tang’: 10 albums that defined 1993

It was an amazing year for music in 1993. Kurt Cobain was beginning to crack under the pressure of worldwide adulation, and Janet Jackson was giving the world a good look at her new physique and image. 2Pac was on the road to becoming the most controversial rapper in hip-hop, but a guy named “Snoop” […]

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