Nas Reminisces on Making Illmatic

Nas Reminisces on Making Illmatic

The Queensboro emcee talks about working on his debut album with DJ Premier.

Published August 17, 2011

Seventeen years after his debut album, Illmatic, dropped, Nas remembers what it was like in the studio working with producer DJ Premier on the now iconic project.


“Premier brought to the table someone who I felt like was like myself. Premier was more like my guys, we related like that. Premier spoke my language all day, 24/7,” he told Fuse. “We sat down and he played records. He opened up his crates to me. He showed me records, he let me play them on the turntable, listen to things that I like. He was open, easy. Just real chill. So we’d just go through records for hours. He had ideas, beat ideas, he would lay down one thing and I’d lay down a rhyme to it and then he’d come back and [say,] ‘Change it up. Change that.’ Or I’d say, ‘I think this would sound better with this sound in it.’ He was just easy to work with.”

Nas is currently performing Illmatic in its entirety on Rock the Bells stages nationwide.

Written by Kenrya Rankin


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