Yesterday, April 19th marked the 25th anniversary of one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time, Nas’s Illmatic. This platinum-selling gritty album made every New Yorker feel like a king or queen while walking the streets of their beloved hood. Illmatic debuted in 1994 and 25 years later it is still one of the most important and inspiring pieces of work to rap culture.
Yesterday, Vashtie was invited to celebrate alongside the GOAT himself (Nas) at the Illmatic XXV: Memory Lane in NYC, presented by Nas & Electric Circus (click here for photos and to read all about her experience). If you didn’t know, Illmatic will have a spot on Vashtie’s Top 3 until the end of time, we wouldn’t be shocked if she walked down the aisle to “New York State Of Mind” at her wedding. The album has inspired artists like Ghostface Killah, Vic Mensa, Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, J. Cole, Jay-Z, and more.
Bar after bar, you can’t help but to take a step back and reflect on Nas’s flawless lyrics. In honor of Illmatic’s 25th anniversary, we pulled a couple of our personal favorite bars. What’s your favorite lyric from the album? Comment below or hit us up on social media: @vashtiedotcom on IG & Twitter.
Sometimes I sit back with a Buddha sack. Mind’s in another world thinking how can we exist through the facts. – “One Love”
I sip the Dom P, watching “Gandhi” ’til I’m charged. Then writing in my book of rhymes, all the words past the margin. To hold the mic I’m throbbin’, mechanical movement. Understandable smooth shit that murderers move with. The thief’s theme: play me at night, they won’t act right. The fiend of hip-hop has got me stuck like a crack pipe. The mind activation, react like I’m facin’ time like. – “The World Is Yours”
Inhale deep like the words of my breath. I never sleep, cause sleep is the cousin of death. I lay puzzle as I backtrack to earlier times. Nothing’s equivalent, to the New York State of Mind. – “New York State Of Mind”
I switched my motto—instead of saying f-ck tomorrow, that buck that bought a bottle could’ve struck the lotto. – “Life’s A Bitch”
My sentence begins indented, with formality. My duration’s infinite, moneywise or physiology. – “Memory Lane”
So stay civilized, time flies. Though incarcerated your mind dies, I hate it when your moms cries. It kinda makes me want to murder, for real a/I even got a mask and gloves to bust slugs but one love. – “One Love”
I woke up early on my born day, I’m 20 it’s a blessin’. The essence of adolescence leaves my body now I’m fresh, and my physical frame is celebrated ‘cause I made it one quarter through life some Godly-like thing created. – “Life’s A Bitch”
Dwelling in the rotten apple, you get tackled or caught by the devil’s lasso, s*** is a hassle! I need a new n***a, for this black cloud to follow, ‘cause while it’s over me, it’s too dark to see tomorrow. – “The World Is Yours”
This rhythm-atic explosion is what your frame of mind has chosen. I’ll leave your brain stimulated, n****s is frozen. Speak with criminal slang, begin like a vi-o-lin. End like Le-via-than, it’s deep, well let me try again – “It Aint Hard To Tell”