Nas: Time Is Illmatic

Nas released his documentary “Time Is Illmatic” on April 16, 2014.  The documentary was directed by One9 and produced by One9, Erik Parker and Anthony Saleh.  The documentary premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and later worldwide on October 1, 2014.

If you every wondered how Nas got the inspiration to create one of the greatest albums in Hip Hop history, watch this film.  The documentary starts off with the introduction of Nas’s mom and dad Fannie Ann Jones and Olu Dara.  They go on to introduce us to Nas’s brother Jabari and their childhood living in the Queensbridge Housing Projects.  Nas played the trumpet and drums and was becoming a great trumpeter when Hip Hop entered his life and with the help of his friend Willie “Ill Will” Graham.

As kids, both Nas and his brother had to see the people in their neighborhood fall into drug addictions during the crack epidemic and to make things worse, their mother and father separated.

According to the documentary, Roxanne Shante’s telling him to get serious about flowing correctly or she would kick his ass and the influence Marley Marl and MC Shan’sThe Bridge” had on him made Nas get serious about making rap music his true passion and career.  But after his friend Ill Will got killed after a night at the movies, Nas had a mission and it was success or bust.

The film breaks down the majority of the songs on Illmatic and they speak to the producers that helped him get his name out there and also the one’s that produced some of the tracks on his debut album.  Large Professor, MC Serch, Pete Rock and Q-Tip all give their experiences producing tracks and watching Nas get in the booth and murder it!

The movie also explains the concept of the album cover.  One of the greatest parts of the film (to me) is to see Nas talk about his children.  He has a line on “The World is Yours” where he says:

Thinkin’ a word best describin’ my life to name my daughter
My strength, my son, the star will be my resurrection
Born in correction, all the wrong shit I did
He’ll lead a right direction

Nas explains how crazy it feels for his words to come to fruition and have a daughter first and a son after that.  The movie has plenty of rare pictures and video of a young Nasty Nas and also shows how connected he still is to his neighborhood where the majority of the young men that were on the insert of the album cover are either dead or in jail.

This film is a “can’t miss” for any Nas fan and will have you rhyming with Nas on every one of the songs presented in this documentary.  The film also has live concert footage and behind the scenes footage of his concert at Citi Field in Queens.

-Al E.



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