Contradiction, the yin and the yang, the simultaneous existence of two competing realities, and the larger than life persona that depicts populist realism are at the core of Nass Illmatic. Yet Nass identity - as an inner-city youth, a child of hip hop, and a Black American - predicts those philosophical quandaries as much as it does its brazen ambition. Partly because of that recklessly broad scope, the artistic impact of Illmatic was massive. The record finds its place in the greatest transition in hip hop up to that point, the spot where the streets and the charts collided. Along with the Wu Tang Clans debut from the previous year, Illmatic put New York back on the map after a long period of West coast, G-funk dominance. Nas also mapped out the laid-back lyrical style that would usher in the modern era of hip hop. Often compared to Rakim, Nass first-person street-level accounts utilized complex rhyme schemes coupled with a smoky delivery to create a new emcee persona. While rappers that came before him focused on live delivery that would get a crowd moving, Nas toned it down and played up the subtleties in his voice. Compared to the original style, the result was as different as film acting is from its stage-bound relative.But despite these revolutionary characteristics, in many ways Illmatic is a last gasp throwback, the end of the original hip hop era. Though hardcore hip hop (as the basic hard-hitting beats and rhymes style was known at the time - not to be confused with gangsta rap)

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