No album better reflected the sound and style of New York, 94. Raw rap, soul samples and beat breaks. A gifted writer whose wordplay knows no bounds, Nas tells his own story, the archetypal anti-hero with ambitions of ruling the world, escaping the conflict, violence and brutality of New York's underbelly.
The son of Jazz musician Olu Dara, Nas draws on Jazz influences, with producer Pete Rock utilising Jazz piano chords and even having his own father play the trumpet solo at the end of "Life’s a Bitch". Jazz also permeates the albums most essential cuts, with The Ahmad Jamal-sampling, boom-bap classic "The World Is Yours" remaining a stand out track.
The lyrics remind us that New York is the beating heart of Illmatic, "To everybody in Queens, the foundation (it's yours) / The world is yours." Nas represents the East Coast through and through and deserves to be ranked one of the best East Coast rappers of all time.