Producer: DJ Premier
Lyric: “Nas is a rebel of the street corner/Pulling a Tec out the dresser/Police got me under pressure”
Why It’s Dope: Nas is explaining the overwhelming sense of fear and paranoia when you’re in the drug game and how that fear can drive you to arming yourself with semi-automatic weapons. He’s proud of his status as a rebel but is also condemning the gangsta lifestyle as not being worth it.



Producer: DJ Premier
Lyric: “The brutalizer, crew de-sizer, accelerator/The type of nigga who be pissin' in your elevator/Somehow the rap game reminds me of the crack game/Used to sport Bally's and Gazelle's with black frames/Now I'm into fat chains, sex and tecs/Fly new chicks and new kicks, Heine's and Beck's”
Why It’s Dope: It's a perfect reference to the type of degenerate who pisses in elevators; everybody knows who that type of person is, and a simple line encapsulates the entire idea. Then there's the rap game/crack game comparison, which is one of the most commonly-used tropes in the genre.


"It Ain’t Hard To Tell"

Producer: Large Professor
Lyric: “Street’s disciple, I rock beats that’s mega trifle/And groove even smoother than moves by Villanova/You’re still a soldier/I’m like Sly Stone in Cobra
Why It’s Dope: This echoes Nas’s first lines ever recorded and sampled on “The Genesis” while also featuring a couplet in which Nas compares himself to the Villanova basketball team and Sylvester Stallone. A little more impressive in 1994 than it is in 2014, but you can't blame a pop culture reference.


For the upcoming 20th anniversary of Nas’ classic album Illmatic, God's Son sat down with Spotify for their Landmark series and discussed stories from the making of the album. For one, Nas did not initially like “One Time 4 Your Mind” produced Large Professor.

DJ Premier—who produced "Memory Lane (Sittin’ in da Park)," “Represent” and “NY State of Mind” on the debut album—told Spotify, “The way it is on the album, he was just freestyling and just bugging out. I thought maybe he’d rerecord it later on, but that version that’s on there is the one I witness. I remember Nas was like ‘I don’t like it, I’mma trash it.’”

Nas even admits that SONY took charge in crafting the tracklist for album, leaving him out of determining the Illmatic’s sequential order. But that had less to do with his involvement and more to do with the rapper having a hard time narrowing down the songs he wanted to feature.

“I didn’t really choose them, because it was too much to choose," said Nas. "I had the songs, they were apart of the list. But I couldn’t, because it was so many things I wanted to put on there it would’ve been a quadruple album.”

Listen to Spotify’s full Landmark episode on Illmatic below:– Chris M. Garner


[via Spotify]