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Tonight, the premiere of Time Is Illmatic, the documentary by producer/writer Erik Parker and director One9 which explores the making of Nas' classic debut LP, will take place at the TriBeCa Film Festival. The documentary, which comes the week of the album's 20th anniversary and the day after the re-release of Nas' IllmaticXX, has been a decade in the making, with work beginning in 2004 around the 10th anniversary of the album. As time went on, One9 and Parker were able to, piece by piece and step by step, speak to as many people involved in the making of the album—as well as Nas' early life—to paint a full picture of what, exactly, went into crafting this album.

"The film gives you a guide to making the album, not just musically, but also a social and political context of what was going on while he was making that album," Parker says. "There are many things we want people to take away from this film, but the one thing for sure that we want people to take away is that Illmatic was much bigger than just Nas and the great poet that he is; he was telling the story of a people, and everyone who wasn't as good at articulating that story, he did that for them."

With the doc premiering tonight, XXL spoke with both One9 and Parker about the decade-long process of putting together the film, Nas' reaction to the production, and what the legacy of Illmatic really is. Dan Rys


Nas’ ‘Time Is Illmatic’ Documentary Has Been In The Works For 10 Years

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