Page 1

Nas' 'Time Is Illmatic' Documentary Is A Love Letter To The Streets Of NYC - XXL

4/19/14 4:29 PM

728 News (/subscribe/)

comScore Tag

Best Hip-Hop Tweets Of The Week 4/13-4/19

12 Things We Learned About Nas From His ...

Best Hip-Hop Instagrams Of The Day

50 Cent’s Has Been Throwing Shots At A ...

(http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2014/04/best(http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2014/04/12(http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2014/04/best(http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2014/04/5 hip-hop-tweets-week-413-419/) things-learned-nas-recenthip-hop-instagrams-day-30/) cent-throwing-shots/) press-run/)

(http://www.xxlmag.com) HOME (HTTP://WWW.XXLMAG.COM) > NEWS (HTTP://WWW.XXLMAG.COM/NEWS/) > NAS’ ‘TIME IS ILLMATIC’ DOCUMENTARY IS A LOVE LETTER TO THE STREETS OF NYC

Nas’ ‘Time Is Illmatic’ Documentary Is A Love Letter To The Streets Of NYC APR 18TH, '14 • NEWS (HTTP://WWW.XXLMAG.COM/NEWS/) • by MICHAEL A. GONZALES (HTTP://WWW.XXLMAG.COM/AUTHOR/MICHAEL-A-GONZALES/) • NO COMMENTS (HTTP://WWW.XXL‐ Like 261 () MAG.COM/NEWS/2014/04/NAS-TIME-ILLMATIC-DOCUMENTARY-LOVE-LETTER-STREETS-NYC/#COMMENTS) Tweet 53

()

There are times when hip-hop can make those of us who chronicle it very proud. For me, someone who has been in the game since the days of Grandmaster Flash, the most recent oc‐ casion was this past Wednesday when the annual Tribeca Film Festival unveiled the much-anticipated documentary Time Is Illmatic. A stunning film that devolves deep into the cre‐ ative grittiness of Nas’ debut masterpiece, the film rates, at least for me, beside the greatness of Wild Style. Sitting in an audience that included legends Kool Herc, Marley Marl, Pete Rock and many others, the film opened the festival. Directed by Washington, D.C. native One9, who began his career in graphic design and fine art, Time Is Illmatic takes the viewer on a wonderful back in the day journey that examines the life, art and history of one of rap’s greatest MCs. Raised in the battlegrounds known as the Queensbridge Housing Projects, Nas was reared in a caring home by a loving mother and his jazz musician father Olu Dara. From early on, Nas had a balance to the dark side that many of his friends didn’t share. Even when Nas’ father deserted the family, leaving behind countless books (The Autobiography of Malcolm X,

From Superman To Man) that the budding lyricist read constantly, he knew, “I didn’t want to be nothing.”

http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2014/04/nas-time-illmatic-documentary-love-letter-streets-nyc/

Page 1 of 4


Nas' 'Time Is Illmatic' Documentary Is A Love Letter To The Streets Of NYC - XXL

4/19/14 4:29 PM

While the Queensbridge landscape could be bleak—especially during the 1980s-1990s crack years when many young men in those notorious pj’s were only leaving the hood in hand‐ cuffs and body bags—Nas discovered an alternative to the trife life of those mean streets. Inspired by the local hip-hop posse who called themselves the Juice Crew, which included producer Marley Marl along with rappers Roxanne Shanté, MC Shan, Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie and Kool G Rap, he began writing his own rhymes. Along with his brother Jungle and best friend Ill Will, they planned on conquering the world. However, when Will was killed after an argument, Nas had no choice but to make the jour‐ ney alone. After hooking up with producer/Main Source MC Large Professor, who supplied him with beats for free and put him on down on the classic posse track “Live at the Bar‐ beque,” the kid who started calling himself Nasty Nas was on his way to a brilliant career. Produced and written by noted music journalist Erik Parker, this brilliant film was ten years in the making for him and One9, but well worth the wait. Like Nas himself, the film has a duality that carefully balances artiness and rowdiness, painting the decay of the streets with the flair of Jean Michel Basquiat sharing a blunt with Hype Williams. With the eye of a homeboy auteur, One9 captures stunning images while also teaching the world a lesson or two about the history of public housing, the brutality of the Ronald Reagan years and the bboy beauty of hip-hop. The film also features candid interviews with the now-40-year-old Nas—still at the top of his game—Cornel West, Olu Dara and others; even one of Nas’ ele‐ mentary school teachers tells her story.

Time Is Illmatic is a love letter to the streets of New York City. It might’ve been a jungle sometimes, but it could also be a magical place where one kid’s dreams came true, and a young boy from the hood created a lasting memorial to the world that guided him from conflicted man-child to a genius man. His hasn’t been an easy road, but unlike many others, Nas is still here. After the screening Nas confessed to the more than thrilled audience, that he almost opted out of making the film; I’m sure I’m not the only one glad he changed his mind. Indeed, Time

Is Illmatic is an instant cinematic hip-hop classic (if it was a record spinning on my turntable, I’d give it a XXL) that is absorbing, educational and entertaining. In other words, it repre‐ sents, son. —Michael Gonzales (https://twitter.com/gonzomike) Previously: 6 Big Takeaways From Nas’ Time Is Illmatic Documentary Premiere (http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2014/04/6-big-takeaways-nas-time-illmatic-documentary-premiere/) Twitter Reacts To Nas’ Time Is Illmatic Documentary Premiere (http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2014/04/twitter-reacts-premiere-nas-time-illmatic-documentary/) Nas’ Time Is Illmatic Documentary Has Been In The Works For 10 Years (http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2014/04/nas-time-illmatic-documentary-interview/)

Michael A. Gonzales (http://www.xxlmag.com/author/michael-a-gonzales/):

(https://www.facebook.com/xxlmag) (http://twitter.com/XXL) Posts by Michael A. Gonzales (http://www.xxlmag.com/author/michael-a-gonzales/) (http://www.xxlmag.com/author/michaela-gonzales/)

TAGS:

MOVIE REVIEW (HTTP://WWW.XXLMAG.COM/TAG/MOVIE-REVIEW/), NAS (HTTP://WWW.XXLMAG.COM/TAG/NAS/), NAS WEEK (HTTP://WWW.XXLMAG.COM/TAG/NAS-WEEK/), TIME IS ILLMATIC (HTTP://WWW.XXLMAG.COM/TAG/TIME-IS-ILLMATIC/)

()

RELATED STORIES http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2014/04/nas-time-illmatic-documentary-love-letter-streets-nyc/

Page 2 of 4


Nas' 'Time Is Illmatic' Documentary Is A Love Letter To The Streets Of NYC - XXL

4/19/14 4:29 PM

NAS, “THE TRUTH” (ORIGINALLY PUB‐

20 HIP-HOP SONGS THAT REFERENCE

50 RAPPERS SNUBBED BY THE GRAMMYS

LISHED APRIL 2001)

NAS’ ‘ILLMATIC’

his Saturday, Nas’ magnum opus Illmatic turns 20. The Queensbridge native’s journey into be‐ coming a legendary MC all started with ...

Previously: 8 New York Rappers On Explain Why Nas’ ‘Illmatic’ Is Important To Them 6 Big Takeaways From Nas’ ‘Time Is ...

XXL lists 50 rappers who were cheated by the prestigious award ceremony...

the-truth-originally-published-april-

rap-songs-reference-nas-illmatic/)

25 OF THE BEST CLOSING LINES IN RAP

Rap music has a way of celebrating the opening line. It’s always the hard entry that has heads nodding and ... (http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2014/01/50-

rappers-snubbed-by-the-grammys/) (http://www.xxlmag.com/news/throwbacks/2014/04/nas(http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2014/04/20-

(http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2013/09/25best-closing-lines-rap/)

2001/) ()

NEWS (/NEWS/) (http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2014/04/tpremiers-new-song-produced-djtoomp/)

XXLTV (/VIDEO/)

SNEAKERS (/LIFESTYLE/SNEAKERS/)

(http://www.xxlmag.com/video/2014/04/russellsimmons-takes-xxl-staff-happy-place/) (http://www.xxlmag.com/lifestyle/2014/04/10best-sneakers-release-easterweekend/)

T.I. PREMIERS NEW SONG PRODUCED RUSSELL SIMMONS TAKES THE XXL BY DJ TOOMP STAFF TO HIS HAPPY PLACE THE 10 BEST SNEAKERS TO RELEASE (HTTP://WWW.XXLMAG.COM/NEWS/2014/04/T(HTTP://WWW.XXLMAG.COM/VIDEO/2014/04/RUSSELLEASTER WEEKEND PREMIERS-NEW-SONG-PRODUCEDSIMMONS-TAKES-XXL-STAFF(HTTP://WWW.XXLMAG.COM/LIFESTYLE/2014/04/10DJ-TOOMP/) HAPPY-PLACE/) BEST-SNEAKERS-RELEASE-EASTERWEEKEND/) (http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2014/04/drake- (http://www.xxlmag.com/video/2014/04/asherclowns-jay-z-nets-versus-raptorsroth-talks-greenhouse-effect-def(http://www.xxlmag.com/lifestyle/2014/04/weargame/) DRAKE CLOWNS JAY Z AT jam-history-retro-hash-cover-art/) mihara-yasuhiro-x-puma-72-dressNETS VERSUS RAPTORS GAME ASHER ROTH TALKS ‘GREENHOUSE shoes/) WOULD YOU WEAR THESE (HTTP://WWW.XXLMAG.COM/NEWS/2014/04/DRAKEEFFECT’, DEF JAM HISTORY, AND MIHARA YASUHIRO X PUMA MY-72 CLOWNS-JAY-Z-NETS-VERSUS‘RETROHASH’ COVER ART [VIDEO] DRESS SHOES? RAPTORS-GAME/) (HTTP://WWW.XXLMAG.COM/VIDEO/2014/04/ASHER(HTTP://WWW.XXLMAG.COM/LIFESTYLE/2014/04/WEARROTH-TALKS-GREENHOUSEMIHARA-YASUHIRO-X-PUMA-72(http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2014/04/nicki- EFFECT-DEF-JAM-HISTORY-RETRODRESS-SHOES/) minaj-tyga-lil-wayne-go-crazyHASH-COVER-ART/) senile-video/) NICKI MINAJ, TYGA, (http://www.xxlmag.com/lifestyle/2014/04/bostonsAND LIL WAYNE GO CRAZY IN (http://www.xxlmag.com/video/2014/03/ygs- bodega-revamps-reebok-instapump“SENILE” VIDEO album-get-snoop-dogg-back-studio/) fury-20th-anniversary/) BOSTON’S (HTTP://WWW.XXLMAG.COM/NEWS/2014/04/NICKIDID YG’S ALBUM GET SNOOP DOGG BODEGA REVAMPS THE REEBOK MINAJ-TYGA-LIL-WAYNE-GOBACK IN THE STUDIO? [VIDEO] INSTAPUMP FURY FOR IT’S 20TH CRAZY-SENILE-VIDEO/) (HTTP://WWW.XXLMAG.COM/VIDEO/2014/03/YGSANNIVERSARY ALBUM-GET-SNOOP-DOGG-BACK(HTTP://WWW.XXLMAG.COM/LIFESTYLE/2014/04/BOSTONSMORE > (/NEWS/) STUDIO/) BODEGA-REVAMPS-REEBOKMORE > (/VIDEO/)

INSTAPUMP-FURY-20THANNIVERSARY/) MORE > (/LIFESTYLE/SNEAKERS/)

http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2014/04/nas-time-illmatic-documentary-love-letter-streets-nyc/

Page 3 of 4


Nas' 'Time Is Illmatic' Documentary Is A Love Letter To The Streets Of NYC - XXL

0 Comments

4/19/14 4:29 PM

XXL Magazine

Login

Sort by Best

Share

Favorite

Start the discussion…

Be the first to comment.

Subscribe

Add Disqus to your site

GALLERIES

(http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2014/04/12(http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2014/04/50(http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2014/04/21(http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2014/04/best(http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2014/04/ph things-learned-nascent-throwing-shots/) facts-might-knowhip-hop-instagramshat-everywhere/) recent-press-run/) chance-rapper/) day-27/)

12 THINGS WE LEARNED ABOUT NAS FROM HIS RECENT PRESS RUN

50 CENT’S HAS BEEN THROWING SHOTS AT A BUNCH OF PEOPLE THIS

21 FACTS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT CHANCE THE RAPPER

BEST HIP-HOP INSTAGRAMS OF THE DAY

PHARRELL’S HAT HAS BEEN EVERYWHERE (HTTP://WWW.XXLMAG.COM/NEWS/2014/04/

Copyright © 2014, Harris Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. | Terms of Use (/terms-of-use/) | Privacy Policy (/privacy-policy/)

http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2014/04/nas-time-illmatic-documentary-love-letter-streets-nyc/

Page 4 of 4

Nas' 'time is illmatic' documentary is a love letter to the streets of nyc xxl  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you