When Nas released Illmatic 20 years ago, it was like a bomb exploded and the hip-hop world would never be the same. In just 39 minutes, Nas weaved an intrigue, cinematic tale that depicted a New York that was completely unknown to the majority of Americans. The album’s numerous connections to film revealed Nas’ love for an almost movie-like style of storytelling.
“I always wrote scripts as a kid. I always liked to tell vivid stories,” Nas said in a 2004 conversation. “I went for rap instead of the movies. It was cheaper and easier to rhyme on a beat than to make a movie, plus rap was more me,” he revealed in another interview. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of Illmatic, take a look at the cinematic connections that lay within the classic album.