The Real Story Of Nas’ “Illmatic”

Spotify Landmark is the story behind some of the greatest moments in music, told by the people who made them.

Each show blends intimate interviews with artists, producers, industry figures and celebrities to create a listening history of legendary albums, concerts and events.

Landmark 2: Nas’ “Illmatic”
To celebrate the 20th anniversary re-issue of Nas' debut album, here's the real story behind "Illmatic".

Listen to the album with commentary.


Here you can listen to individual stories from our contributors.


Nas released Illmatic in 1994. With six Number One albums and more than 25 million records sold worldwide, he is considered one of the greatest MCs in hip-hop history.


Large Professor

Large Professor, a founding member of the group Main Source, oversaw Nas's demo recordings and produced three songs on Illmatic


DJ Premier

DJ Premier of Gang Starr produced three tracks on illmatic. He has also worked with artists including Jay-Z, The Notorious B.I.G., and Kanye West.


Pete Rock

Pete Rock, a producer, DJ and rapper, produced "The World Is Yours" on Illmatic. A member of the duo Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, he's also produced Rakim and Redman


Faith Newman

Faith Newman is the A&R executive who signed Nas to Columbia Records and oversaw the recording off "Illmatic"

Credits: Produced by Alan Light and Sandy Smallens