"Illmatic" is the first album released by American rapper Nas and was put out by Columbia Records on April 19, 1994.
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"Illmatic" is the first album released by American rapper Nas and was put out by Columbia Records on April 19, 1994. Nas recorded the album in 1992 and 1993 at various studios in New York City, with the help of several producers including DJ Premier, Large Professor, and Nas himself. The album is known for its hardcore hip hop style, featuring multi-syllabic rhymes and stories based on Nas' experiences growing up in the Queensbridge Houses in Queens, New York City.
Although "Illmatic" debuted at number 12 on the US Billboard 200 chart and sold 63,000 copies in its first week, its sales fell short of expectations and its singles did not do well on the charts. However, the album received high praise from most music critics who praised the production and Nas' lyricism. It eventually earned a gold certification in 1996 and a platinum certification in 2001, and as of 2019, it had sold 2 million copies in the US.
"Illmatic" is considered a landmark album in East Coast hip hop and has influenced many subsequent hip hop artists. It helped revive the New York City rap scene and introduced new stylistic trends to the region. The album is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential hip hop albums of all time and has appeared on numerous best album lists by critics and publications. In 2021, it was even selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for being culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.