1. “The Genesis” samples Wild Style.
Illmatic begins its journey with the sound of an elevated train and samples from Wild Style, the 1982 film that was the first major hip-hop movie. Two men are arguing about something (in the film, we see it’s graffiti) in the sample. “Stop fucking around and be a man… there ain’t nothing out here for you.” says an angry voice. “Oh, yes there is: this!” comes the reply and a hard hitting hip-hop beat.
This scene and sample are critically important to Illmatic. Wild Style was making the argument that young minority men do not need to leave their communities in order to succeed. The graffiti artist was expressing his belief in the power of his brothers, his community, his art and his culture and he didn’t agree that there was “nothing out there” for him. Nas believes in the power of his community and wants their story to be told, just like the graffiti artist.
Check out the full clip below from Wild Style.