Nas’ iconic “Illmatic” album will be inducted into the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry.
“The National Recording Registry will preserve our history through these vibrant recordings of music and voices that have reflected our humanity and shaped our culture from the past 143 years,” Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, said when announcing the new inductees. “We received about 900 public nominations this year for recordings to add to the registry, and we welcome the public’s input as the Library of Congress and its partners preserve the diverse sounds of history and culture.”
Nas released the 1994 album when he was just 20 years old, and it remains one of his most celebrated works to date. The LP features appearances from Nas’ father, Olu Dara, as well as several notable producers, including Q-Tip, Large Professor, Pete Rock, L.E.S. and DJ Premier.
“The sound they forged features gritty drums, hazy vinyl samples and snatches of jazz and ’70s R&B,” the Library of Congress detailed of the classic album. “It has been described as the sound of a kid in Queensbridge ransacking his parents’ record collection. While the album pulls no punches about the danger, struggle and grit of Queensbridge, Nas recalls it as a musically rich environment that produced many significant rappers, and that he “felt proud being from Queensbridge…. [W]e were dressed fly in Ballys and the whole building was like a family.”
2021 has already been an excellent year for the Queens rapper. Earlier this month, he won his first-ever Grammy. Nas nabbed the Best Rap Album for “King’s Disease,” beating “Black Habits” by D Smoke, “A Written Testimony” by Jay Electronica, “Alfredo” by Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist, and “The Allegory” by Royce da 5′9″ for the honor.
“We’re in a world right now where we’re facing some really terrible racist practices, and there are people who don’t realize it’s happening,” Nas told NEW od his album in November. “So these records were made to remind us that we are God’s creation, just like every white man, every Asian brother and everyone else.”