• Record Label: Columbia
  • Release Date: Apr 15, 2014
User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 183 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 16 out of 183
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  1. May 13, 2014
    10
    This originally came out before my time so have only really gotten into it now. Still sounds fresh, has mad beats, lyrics and flow. Can see how this is a classic and rated as pretty much the best rap album of all time
  2. May 10, 2014
    10
    Stilll the best Hip Hop Album of all time. I still prefer the original but i liked that they added some new stuff that feels like it was recorded when Illmatic was first written. Check out "Im a Villain"
  3. Apr 30, 2014
    10
    Not much to say, a classic album (the best hip hop album ever), packed with new remixes and new tracks. Illmatic will have a huge impact on hip hop forever, the remixes have great beats, the newly added tracks are good too.
  4. May 3, 2014
    10
    **** sayin' NaS fell, how? this album proves he still remembers his roots. Plus, if any1 fell off it would have to be Yeezy. **** sayin' Ye fell off, YOURE RIGHT!
  5. Jun 24, 2014
    10
    The greatest hip hop album still sounds amazing and with 10 ten extra tracks this is one of the best deals out there. Nas has once again put out the best anniversary edition of any album (Illmatic Platinum).
  6. Mar 22, 2015
    10
    This rating is for the actual Illmatic. 9.1/10. I'd probably rate this one almost the same as the original............................................
  7. Jul 8, 2014
    9
    A damn good album, and also a must-buy. Nas' stunning debut had me skeptical at first because of its East-coast origins, but with the first track I listened to, I knew this album would be worth a listen.
  8. May 1, 2015
    10
    Quite possibly the greatest hip-hop album of all time. Nas' flows and lyrics are impeccable and often outrageous in places "You couldn't catch me on the streets without a tonne of reefer, that's like Malcom X catchin' the jungle fever". The concepts are based upon Nas' tough New York upbringing; including gang warfare, drugs, desolation and urban poverty. This helps add a sense of realismQuite possibly the greatest hip-hop album of all time. Nas' flows and lyrics are impeccable and often outrageous in places "You couldn't catch me on the streets without a tonne of reefer, that's like Malcom X catchin' the jungle fever". The concepts are based upon Nas' tough New York upbringing; including gang warfare, drugs, desolation and urban poverty. This helps add a sense of realism to the album, making it highly relatable to the youthful generation. It's easy to see where Nas is coming from in a lot of these songs.

    The beats to accompany the lyrics are just as impeccable and include elements of jazz and old-school hip hop in places, mastered by the pioneering DJ Premier, along with Large Professor and Q Tip. Illmatic is 10 tracks of pure genius. At only 20 years old, Nas blew the world of hip-hop away with this album. A true classic; as recognised by this 20th Anniversary Edition.
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  9. Jun 20, 2015
    10
    (review of Illmatic only)
    Illmatic is often hailed as the best hip hop album of all time, and deservedly so. The first thing that can be noted when discussing Illmatic and its legacy is Nas' fantastic rapping. On this album, Nas vividly paints a picture of the New York gangsta life with a series of fantastic rhymes and flow. But the rapping is only one portion of Illmatic's legacy. Next
    (review of Illmatic only)
    Illmatic is often hailed as the best hip hop album of all time, and deservedly so. The first thing that can be noted when discussing Illmatic and its legacy is Nas' fantastic rapping. On this album, Nas vividly paints a picture of the New York gangsta life with a series of fantastic rhymes and flow. But the rapping is only one portion of Illmatic's legacy. Next we have the production. There are so many bangers and other fantastic instrumentals on Illmatic that go greatly with Nas' fantastic rapping. And if I'm not wrong, I believe this project reinvented sampling. Without this album, there would have been no The College Dropout, Madvillainy or even My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. And finally we have its originality. Whereas other albums pre-Illmatic sounded specifically from its era, I could have easily mistaken Illmatic for a 2015 album. Nas, with Illmatic, introduced modern sampling methods, storytelling, and bangers. All of these things make Illmatic the classic that it is. Now, if Nas were to make an album nearly as good as this... Grade: A+. Highlights: "N.Y. State of Mind", "Life's a B****", "The World Is Yours", "It Ain't Hard to Tell". Worst song: "Memory Lane (Sittin' in da Park)"
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  10. Nov 28, 2015
    10
    The living bible of hip-hop. The original is more raw, but this is basically the same experience of the living testament of hip-hop. Lyrically and production wise, this is the pinnacle of perfection.
  11. Aug 9, 2016
    10
    10.0
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  12. Apr 29, 2017
    9
    Although the remixes don't contribute anything, the album itself is and will be a classic. It defined a generation and hopefully will continue defining future generations.
  13. May 25, 2017
    10
    Treating this review as Illmatic not Illmatic XX so I'm not speaking on any of the remixes or anything but this is arguably the best hip hop album of all time. There just isn't anything wrong with it.

    Best songs: N.Y. State of MInd / It Ain't Hard To Tell / The World Is Yours
  14. May 31, 2017
    10
    Illmatic is the the best hip hop album ever, the samples are awesome, the poetry and the way that Nas write make you feel the things that he lived to write this masterpiece of human culture
  15. Jul 18, 2017
    10
    Original illmatic rating here.....................................................................................................................................................
  16. Nov 28, 2017
    10
    Simply put, this is (a re-release of) the best hip-hop record of all time. Incredible lyrics, incredible verses, incredible songs. The rating says 10, but it should be 11. Without a doubt my favourite album.
  17. Jun 16, 2018
    10
    When I say there is not a single bad track on this album I mean it, there are a lot of albums which I say were the best of a certain decade or timespan but overall this is not just the best rap album of the 90s it is the best of all time. Highlight tracks really are all of them but if you want the best of the best, NY State Of Mind, Lifes A **** One Love & The World Is Yours
  18. Jun 11, 2018
    10
    (This review is just based on the original Illmatic, which was released in 1994 and the remixes on Illmatic XX will not be considered). 100 which is a 10. This is by far the greatest rap album of all time. There is no doubt that this album is perfect in every way. The production which included some DJ Premier works, was on point and perfect. The lyrics was amazing and once again perfect.(This review is just based on the original Illmatic, which was released in 1994 and the remixes on Illmatic XX will not be considered). 100 which is a 10. This is by far the greatest rap album of all time. There is no doubt that this album is perfect in every way. The production which included some DJ Premier works, was on point and perfect. The lyrics was amazing and once again perfect. There was not a single second of this album that could be fixed. In his track it Ain't Hard to Tell, he samples Michael Jackson's Human Nature and makes bodies the track. Songs such as Represent and NY State of Mind are just some of the craziest beats that the human ear could hear. Life's a b*tch with AZ, was a lyrically genius track. If you thought AZ's verse was GOAT, listen to the Nas verse that follows. I could listen to this album all day, everyday and never get enough of this album. Only problem was that the bar that Nas set on Illmatic was way too high for him to reach in any of his later albums which is probably why we think all his other albums weren't too good. Strewth. Expand
Metascore
89

Universal acclaim - based on 8 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Nov 6, 2014
    78
    The Demos, Remixes & Live Radio half of Illmatic XX, the 20th-anniversary celebration of the Queensbridge rapper's seminal debut, deviates the right direction from its 10-year predecessor.
  2. The Wire
    Jul 21, 2014
    70
    No album in hiphop history has been less in need of a padding. [Jun 2014, p.63]
  3. May 22, 2014
    100
    Illmatic is timeless because of Nas’s introspective, hyper-detailed approach to his daily life--even to moments that don’t seem particularly notable.