“When I made Illmatic, I was trying to make the perfect album,” Nas says in the new trailer for Time Is Illmatic, the documentary tracing the history of Nas’ 1994 debut album, Illmatic. “It comes from the days of Wild Style. I was trying to make you experience my life. I wanted you to look at hip-hop differently. I wanted you to feel that hip-hop was changing and becoming something more real.”
The documentary is set to premiere on April 16th for the opening night of the Tribeca Film Festival, but the trailer offers a dramatic and tense look at what to expect, from insight into Nas’ childhood lyrical genius to shots of Nas’ home territory of Queensbridge. “I gave you what the streets felt like, what it tasted like, sounded like, smelled like, all on that album, and I tried to capture it like no one else could,” the rapper says in the trailer.
The documentary helps mark the 20th anniversary of Illmatic, and Nas will be reissuing the record with bonus material under the title Illmatic XX on April 15th. He’s also playing a series of shows in support of the album, including a Saturday set at Coachella.
Nas spoke about the milestone in a recent interview with Rolling Stone. “It’s like I gave myself a 40th birthday present 20 years ago,” he said. “It gives me a reference piece to look at myself and for me to analyze my life and what I’ve come from; my accomplishments; my dreams.”