‘Nas: Time is Illmatic’ Looks at Story Behind Rapper’s Landmark Album

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Rapper Nas and Illmatic doc From the Wall Street Journal:

New York-based rapper Nas has spent his career telling stories about growing up in the Queensbridge housing projects. His debut album, ?Illmatic,? was declared and instant classic as it wove tales about living in a ?N.Y. State of Mind? and still having ?One Love? for incarcerated friends.

Filmmakers One9 and Erik Parker used those themes to frame the story behind making Nas?s seminal album in their own debut film, ?Nas: Time Is Illmatic.?

?These guys are great,? Nas said at the premiere, hosted by Tribeca Film and Hennessy V.S. at the Museum of Modern Art in New York on Tuesday. ?They got me and my brother to open up.?

The film focuses how Nas, along with his brother, Jungle, grew up after his parents separated, the crime that plagued his neighborhood, and how he found his release through music and creativity.

?We looked at, metaphorically, the song titles, but how do they relate to social, economic issues, and how did that affect the Jones family and Nas in particular as a writer, as an artist,? said One9, who directed the film. ?So we wanted to bridge those gaps. We wanted to tell a deeper story, not just a hip-hop story but an American story.?

The idea for documenting the creation of ?Illmatic? began 10 years ago Mr. Parker was music editor at Vibe magazine. It was the 10th anniversary of the hip-hop classic and the longtime friends thought they could put together a music DVD.

Read more at WSJ.