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On April 19, 1994, Columbia Records released the debut album of a 20-year-old from Queensbridge Houses in New York City. It was deft, wise, deadly serious and matched the babyface with unparalleled promise to beats made by the era’s preeminent producers.

Two decades after Illmatic, Nas sat down with Microphone Check for a conversation that moved from his love for Ali Shaheed Muhammad’s group, A Tribe Called Quest, to music journalism (“If you’re Sade, it doesn’t matter. She does what she does. But for all of us, journalism is a huge deal.”) hearing himself on the radio for the first time and his audience:

“My surroundings. The hip-hop community also,” says Nas. “So that meant I made it for other rappers, I made it for other MCs, I made it for other hip-hop groups. I made it for artists, singers, people in the arts — that’s who I made it for. But it comes from the street, so my surroundings wrote that album. I made it for them.”

Nas also reveals that Swizz Beatz, No I.D., and Timbaland are working with him on his next album.

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2 Responses to "NPR Microphone Check: Nas Talks “Illmatic” With Ali Shaheed Muhammad"
  • da commanda says:

    If Ali was inclined to utilize a video camera, I believe folks would be more inclined to check this…

  • da commanda says:

    Oh and insert my complaint about the producers for Nas’ new album here _______________. No Preemo, Pete Rock? Large Professor? SMH…

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