Time is Illmatic provides not just an in depth look into Nas’ early life, but also the crippling social conditions in Queensbridge that would heavily influence the creation of his debut album Illmatic. It offers an insightful glimpse into the perspective from which the album was written. Being raised in the hostile and sometimes fatal environment in which he was, he was not just talented but also one of the very few people lucky enough to be able to escape it. Perhaps the most striking part is Nas and his brother recounting the death of their childhood friend, Ill Will, in the same place he was gunned down.
For any fan of hip hop, the documentary is a must see. Very few similar projects are as detailed or at times, poignant as Time is Illmatic. Director One9 did an excellent job of detailing the strife’s of Nas’ early life while not dwelling on them. It makes for an overall optimistic project that is sure to provide hope for anyone in a similar situation.
At the time of its release, Illmatic painted the most accurate and vivid imagery of life in the projects. This documentary ensures that its cultural significance will not be overlooked. It also explores the unique production like never before, with the likes of Q-Tip, DJ Premier & Pete Rock detailing their contributions of timeless beats to the album.
Much like the album itself, it is sure to spawn imitators. Don’t be surprised to see other feature length projects based around albums that are as widely regarded by critics and fans alike. However, few will spark as much emotion in just under 75 minutes as Time is Illmatic.
Time is Illmatic will be screened again in the Sugar Club along with a live performance from Dead Prez on October 22nd