Nas has quite a month. After winning his first Grammy Award for best rap album for his 2020 album, King’s disease, earlier this month, the Queens rapper’s debut studio album, Illmatic, was inducted into the Library of Congress.
Wednesday (March 24), Library of Congress announced that the 27-year-old album has been selected to join the list of 25 albums selected for preservation. “The National Recordings Registry will preserve our history through these vibrant recordings of music and voices that reflect our humanity and shape our culture over the past 143 years,” Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said in a statement. “We have received approximately 900 public nominations this year for recordings to add to the register and we welcome the public’s contribution as the Library of Congress and its partners preserve the diverse sounds of history and culture.”
In the note shared on the album, released in 1994, the Library of Congress included its reasoning for selecting Illmatic for conservation. The LP features Nas Olu Dara’s father and producers such as Q-Tip, Large Professor, Pete Rock, LES and DJ Premier.
“The sound they forged includes rough drums, hazy vinyl samples, and bits of ’70s jazz and R&B,” the Library of Congress detailed of the classic album. “It has been described as the sound of a kid from Queensbridge ransacking his parents’ record collection. While the album makes no noise about the danger, struggle and courage of Queensbridge, Nas recalls it as an environment rich musical that produced many important rappers, and that he “felt proud to be from Queensbridge…. [W]We were dressed as Bally’s and the whole building was like family.
While there are rap fans who have criticized how the LP never received the mainstream recognition it deserved at the time, it seems like Nas’ the time has come.
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