Nineteen ninety four, a historic moment in time for ALL music and a year for which there will be a lot of 20th anniversary celebrations. Nas’s Illmatic dropped on April 19 1994 and I recall picking up the album at the end of that week out at a CD shop in Suffolk County with money I scrapped together from missed meals at lunch. I first experienced Nas through the absolute earliest days of Hot 97 with his feature on Main Source’s ‘Live at the BBQ’ and then his track ‘Halftime’. John Secada (yes John Secada), Hi Five, Wu Tang, House Of Pain, Cypress Hill, Pete Rock & CL Smooth and Nas were getting heavy stereo time in my bedroom in 92 so when his album dropped in 94 it was a purchase with no hesitation. It kicked off with the Genesis (which to this day I wish Nas and AZ would have spit on), then N.Y. State Of Mind (which really felt familiar to a kid growing up in NY at the time) and on to ‘Life’s a b*tch’. Now I was 13, and you would think that a track like ‘Life’s a b*tch’ would be a little over my head but it resonated with me for different reasons and I can see how a teenager can relate. From the head down kickin rocks of Lifes a b*tch and onto the more upbeat ‘World Is Yours’ into whats arguably one, if not thee, most gritiest track on the album ‘Halftime’ and things were just getting better and better. ‘Memory Lane’, ‘One Love’, ‘One Time 4 Your Mind’ and then ‘Represent’. Every track was raw early 90’s New York and then ending with the radio friendly ‘It Ain’t Hard To Tell’, it rounded out a music experience that we will be celebrating another 20 years from now. To celebrate this milestone Sony has dropped a special edition 20th Anniversary copy of Illmatic and you can either stream it or pick up a physical copy from Target.