Nas Reminisces On "Illmatic," Speaks On Two Tracks Featured On The Album

Nas gives his commentary on "Halftime" and "One Love," two songs from his debut album "Illmatic."

In anticipation of Nas’ VEVO show at the Moody Theater in Austin, VEVO has released two exclusive video interviews featuring the Queensbridge rapper. As part of his interview with VEVO Nas discussed both ‘One Love’ and ‘Halftime,’ two tracks that are both featured on Nas’ debut album Illmatic. 
During his interview Nas spoke on how “Halftime” was actually inspired by the dirty, grungy sound that was so indicative of the early 90’s. 
“It was early 90’s so the music was just grunge. Just dirty, dusty, alleyway kind of sound. That’s the kind of music that the rap music that I was liking around that time,” Nas explained. “So when I heard the track for ‘Halftime’ I knew that would be something good for the time.”
Nas also spoke on “One Love,” sharing that the song was inspired by friends of his in jail. The rapper also commended Q-Tip for providing a jazzy vibe for the song. 
“When I was writing that record I had a friend who was in jail and the way he ended the letter I would be like ‘sincerely’ [or] whatever. [Instead] it was ‘one love.’ People were saying ‘one love’ everywhere so it was ‘one love’ just felt strong,” said Nas. “And I wrote the song as letters to friends of mine that were locked up…Q-Tip produced it and Q-Tip is so talented and I’m such a big fan of A Tribe Called Quest and all they albums that I felt like he brought such a jazz, but yet another vibe to the whole meaning of a hardcore song. Yes, it was written letters to guys in jail but the vibe of [the] music was just real smooth.”
As part of the VEVO show this week in Austin, Nas will perform Illmatic in its entirety alongside a full band. 
RELATED: Nas Talks "Ether," Reuniting With Dr. Dre On "Hustlers"

In anticipation of Nas’ VEVO show at the Moody Theater in Austin, VEVO has released two exclusive video interviews featuring the Queensbridge rapper. As part of his interview with VEVO Nas discussed both ‘One Love’ and ‘Halftime,’ two tracks that are both featured on Nas’ debut album Illmatic

During his interview Nas spoke on how “Halftime” was actually inspired by the dirty, grungy sound that was so indicative of the early 90’s. 

“It was early 90’s so the music was just grunge. Just dirty, dusty, alleyway kind of sound. That’s the kind of music that the rap music that I was liking around that time,” Nas explained. “So when I heard the track for ‘Halftime’ I knew that would be something good for the time.”

Nas also spoke on “One Love,” sharing that the song was inspired by friends of his in jail. The rapper also commended Q-Tip for providing a jazzy vibe for the song. 

“When I was writing that record I had a friend who was in jail and the way he ended the letter I would be like ‘sincerely’ [or] whatever. [Instead] it was ‘one love.’ People were saying ‘one love’ everywhere so it was ‘one love’ just felt strong,” said Nas in a video posted on Complex.com. “And I wrote the song as letters to friends of mine that were locked up…Q-Tip produced it and Q-Tip is so talented and I’m such a big fan of A Tribe Called Quest and all they albums that I felt like he brought such a jazz, but yet another vibe to the whole meaning of a hardcore song. Yes, it was written letters to guys in jail but the vibe of [the] music was just real smooth.”

As part of the VEVO show this week in Austin, Nas will perform Illmatic in its entirety alongside a full band. 


RELATED: Nas Talks "Ether," Reuniting With Dr. Dre On "Hustlers"

 

77 Comments

  • Rhymes and Reasons

    If you like Nas, you might like my blog, Rhymes and Reasons. Its a series of interviews with hip-hop heads who discuss their lives and a few songs that matter to them. Pretty powerful stuff. Checkem out here: http://thisisrhymesandreasons.wordpress.com/

  • Dre

    Ok since there are a lot of Nas haters out there talking that lil wayne and gucci ish. To talk about something other than illmatic, if nas is such garbage how is it that he's got 9 consecutive multi platnuim albums? how many does gucci and them have like that. Lil wayne makes music simply for people so they don't have to think to understand also heres an idea how nas influenced everyone even to this day Im sure you all love that song stay scheming by ross drake n french montana. but the hook.... thats originally nas' hook from day dreamin stay schemin back in '97 look it up ans see where your artists are jackin their flows from. need more look at every track nas has been featured on recently n look who hes spanking around and yes even on ll waynes album lyrically ripping apart everyones tracks

    • Lord Finesse = Jesus

      You're retarded. Nas didn't influence anybody for he bit his style from Kool G Rap. You Nas fans are retarded. Y'all think the hip hop world revolves around him and Illmatic. It doesn't. If it weren't for Kool G Rap there would be no Jay-Z, Nas and Biggie. And for the record, they are all sub par rappers. Nas just happened to be given to the greatest beats in the world from the likes of Pete Rock, Q-Tip and Premo. Thats why i like illmatic he stayed in his place and didn't try to "kick knowledge". He just rapped over some of the best beats of that year about how awesome he is. The producers bulit that album without them he would be just a footnote in hip-hop history

  • Anonymous

    With that being said,This a must see http://youtu.be/OxVBn0zi6pw?hd=1

  • Geah

    Nas is not of this world. Nigga must be a fuckin god or something.

  • Sean O'Loughlin

    P.S. I will say one thing though. I think Nas's entire career is based off of the praise from Illmatic. He was given the "sophomore jinx" with It Was Written and ever since all of his albums have been compared to it with not as much praise.

  • Sean O'Loughlin

    These ignorant-ass niggas have to be fucking with us if they think Illmatic is overrated. Some dumb-ass muthafucka actually had the nerve to call some of the worst rap albums of all-time like Tha Carter IV or some Gucci Mane album better. They've got to be lying. Illmatic is some of the most complex, poetic, dizzying lyricism known to man. It's apart of a trifecta of classic rap albums that emerged from the East Coast during the 90's including Reasonable Doubt and Ready to Die. Niggas is either in denial or dumb as fuck to call Illmatic overrated. I bet you even niggas who don't like Nas now would call Illmatic a classic. And I also have to note, this is coming from a die-hard Hov fan. You're not a true hip-hop lover if you don't like Illmatic. Period.

  • Swag

    Whoever listens to Nas is a skinny jean wearing faggot.

    • Anonymous

      says the guy who bigs up lil wayne all day.. the same lil wayne who rocks bitches jeans.. the same lil wayne who kissed another grown man on the lips.. the same lil wayne who wears skinny jeans every day of his life.. the SAME lil wayne who takes it up the booty hole

  • Anonymous

    Wanna date CEOs, pro athletes, doctors, lawyers, investors, entrepreneurs, beauty queens, fitness models and Hollywood celebrities? just join ___RichMingle,,C'0''M___ to check me out (usename:sissykiss66), the best online rich dating club for you.

  • Anonymous

    Illmatic is MORE than a rap album It is supreme knowlegde secretly laced in the album The world is Yours "5% lesson, "what up god" "End like Leviathan its deep well let me try again" "The essence of adolecence leaves my body now im stepped in the physical frame..." "The Afro-centric asain half man half amazing" "One time for your mind"

  • PureDopeNoCut

    Don't woory niggaz I heard Master P was making a comeback.

  • So Icy Boi!

    Illmatic iz ovarated az hell. niggas shud praise da State vs. Radrick Davis, Tha Carter IV & Flockaveli. deze albumz are real hardcore classicz. da new hip hop god Gucci Mane, Lil Wayne & Waka Flocka takin ovar. diz iz Hip Hop. swag

  • koth561

    There are a lot of classics way better than Illmatic. Its way too overhyped

    • Swag

      THANK YOU!! Nas is complete trash. Wayne would eat him alive in battle.

    • Anonymous

      Overratedmatic is an album for fags who listented to 50 Cent etc. before, discover Nas and feel enlightened since then.

    • koth561

      Take the beats in the world and add some subpar rapping and you get Illmatic. And for the record, its not just the mainstream its also Nas fans that are terrible for Hip Hop. All they do is brainwash people into thinking what is good and what is not. There is no room for to have your own personal classics because if you don't have Illmatic as your favorite album then you don't know shit about hip hop. I liked We Come Strapped (MC Eiht) Take A Look Around (Masta Ace), The Infamous (Mobb Deep), Hell On Earth (Mobb Deep), Only Built 4 Cuban Linx (Raekwon), Liquid Swords (GZA), 456 (Kool G Rap) and Supreme Clientele (Ghostface Killah) all 1000x more than Illmatic. Nas is also a terrible overrated rapper. People listen to him just to feel like he is smart. Any GZA album >>>>>>>>>>>> Illmatic

    • Anonymous

      ^^You know noting about Hip Hop. Illmatic is one of Hip Hop's biggest revisionist happenings. NOBODY cared about it the time it dropped, hence the sales.

    • Anonymous

      What you dont understand is the impact it had on emeces before that album. It took lyricism to another level. You had rappers looking like damn its another level I need to step it up. Thats the reason why Biggie and Tupac get so much luv. Just look at rap before they came they changed the game. That album was incredible back in the early 90's when it came out. You just to young to understand the FULL IMPACT OF THAT ALBUM ON HIP HOP. THAT ALBUM WAS LIKE THE INTRODUCTION TO THE MODERN DAY EMECE.

  • Anonymous

    if you're under 20, you may not understand the greatness of old school rap. it's impactfull, raw emotions, even the beat carries a different vibe. Illmatic is a classic, and "distant relative"is better than any jay z albums or lil wayne's. It's too deep for y'all, I assure u dat.

  • So Icy Boi!

    GOAT? greatest hip hop album? HELL NO!!!! Lil Wayne iz da GOAT. hiz albumz are much betta den diz ovarated shit. swag Tha Carter III > Illmatic I Am Not A Human Being > Illmatic Rebirth > Illmatic Tha Carter IV > Illmatic SAY YMCMB!

  • SuperGucciRap

    Can anyone make a legitimate comment anymore? These Nas stans be defending him just because of one album. It's not 1994 anymore. Besides, I never met a Nas "fan" outside in college or my friends. Why? Because Nas is old news. Why else did Distant Relatives flopped? That's why talented artists like Gucci Mane, Justin Bieber, Tyler The Creator, Hopsin and Christian Beadles are taking over. Move over, grandpa Nas. It's Gucci Time!

  • Anonymous

    What the hell is with all the sad fucking trolls here? Nas is a legend, a Illmatic is a classic. Can't wait for the new album.

  • Sensaye252

    What's the word on the new album though? It's be nice to have it in time to kick off the summer, like "It Was Written".

  • Anonymous

    Why is Nas so fucking cool?

  • Anonymous

    Read what I told you about sales and money @swag. Ymcmb is what's killing rap. Thanks to them we have a shit load of wack niggas in the game. Letting niggas think its ok to suck as long as u getting paid. There the whole reason why got the wakas, guccis and lil bs. It's ymcmb and this swag bullshit that's killing the culture

    • SCHWARZ

      BUT HE DODGIN' THE 25 CENT ALBUM SELLIN' FCUKERY. LOOK AT HIM OVER HERE, FAR AWAY FROM THE SALES THREAD NOT USING HIS SO ICY NAME!

    • Anonymous

      How? By letting other rappers know that its ok to be sub-par or horrible on the mic or barley rap at all. Look at future 25% rappung. Dude is another drake that's overdoing it. They ain't saving shit their making wackness acceptable. You probably like brick squad, Soulja boy and ricks fat ass too. I miss the days when niggas like these dudes wouldn't even get a chance.

    • Swag

      Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Drake, & the rest of the YMCMB crew are saving hip hop.

  • Swag

    Hip hop is dead thanks to wack ass no-talent ass rappers like Nas. Thank god for real hip hop groups like YMCMB.

  • Anonymous

    nas stop talking about old shit

    • SCHWARZ

      & AS SOON AS U FCUKBOIS SWEAR U KNO' WHATCHU TALKIN' ABOUT: "Nas has revealed the cover art for his new single "The Don," premiering tonight on Funkmaster Flex's show on Hot 97." ^ BLAM!

    • YIKES

      HAHAHAHA! u mad bro? HAHAHA! that raw undeniable CLASSIC shit kills yall niggas huh? LOL funny as shit! eat it fuck boy love it...

    • Sean

      Thank you.I mean god damn.The shit was 40 years ago.I was a classic da da da.Nigga make some new shit or retire with Mase.

  • Nasty Marcus

    I really, really hope the Nas Illmatic concert will be available online in 720p, can anyone confirm this?

  • DutchWeazel

    Thanks to articles about wack non/half talented rappers, I stopt buyin' Hip Hop magazines Thanks to the continuous trollin on Hip Hop sites/forums, I had my longest time on them also Thanks, wack rappers with to much hype Thanks, weak fucking lame ass web trolls Call me a hater Cal me a 90' junkie But Hip Hop lost it culture It's not only the music, no way It's about all of the Hip Hop elements All they know now, or care about, is swag.. Damn damn damn To Nas and al the real MC's and all of the real Hip Hop fans that care about Hip Hop One Love!

  • bigfoot89

    Intro - a hip hop cultural embodiment about everything that represents Nas as an entity, Wildstyle: first hip hop movie, Live at the BBQ: Nas's first opportunity to be heard by the hip hop community, The conversation of how hip hop will change forever with AZ and Jungle

    • blaze

      nas has gone 2x and 3x platinum and your fanboy wayne hasn't sold as much as Juvenile.

    • Shame

      um.. Nas went double platinum with It was written. so....

    • Anonymous

      Sales don't equal talent dude. If so you were obviously a hammer, vanilla ice and nelly fan. That's all you ymcmb stans talk about is money and sales. You always avoid the lyrical ability part. Wayne couldn't see nas bar for bar on his best day. Cory gunz could kill his own boss in a battle. Damn just face it only talent on ymcmb came from ny. And I'm a westcoast nigga saying that.

    • Swag

      Wayne is the greatest rapper of all time next to 2Pac. One of the highest selling rappers. Carter 4 went double platinum. What about your precious Nas?? LOL faggot.

    • Anonymous

      No you stfu lil wayne is trash. Elementary ass punchlines and shut. As a matter of fact cory gunz, jae millz and busta the only talent on the label should jump ship. Nas is one of the illest.

  • nuc

    to the trolls reading this... keep wasting your time,, you will be in your late 20's and jobless soon enough! enjoy the lifestyle.

  • Ricky Rozay

    Illmatic was a fuckin ill ass album. too bad Nas has slipped siince the early 2000s, Nas step yo game up, the game needs you. Only ones puttin out good shit is Jay, Ye, Ross and a couple other cats. to all you Wayne stans, that nigga is wack as is the rest of they fuckin crew. Bawse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous

      lol. And ur idol jumps on music with wayne all the time? You are wack, a fake and a faggot. U fuckin cop supporting queer

  • Swag

    Fuck Illmatic. Future's Astronaut Status mixtape and Wayne's Carter 4 shits on it.

  • Swag

    Nas can't rap is is untalented. Even Gay-Z is 100 times better than wack ass Nas. Drake & Nicki would rap circles around him.

  • Swag

    Nas is shit. Fuck all you Nas stans. YMCMB is where it's at!

  • Krome

    Whats funny is im listenin to music on my phone and its playin randomly through ALL 500+ songs and what song comes on as I read this article? "Halftime"..

  • Swag

    Illmatic sucks. Nas is a washed out overrated piece of shit. Lil Wayne is and will always be the G.O.A.T.

  • Krome

    Cannot wait any longer for the damn album! I hope its worth the wait man..

  • reallifeskipbayless

    this nigga never age! haha..shit he looks the same when i was 12 now im 21 and he still hasnt changed a bit lol..God bless this dude. real cool emcee..

  • dogpound

    GOAT! cant wait for Life is Good LP

  • lupe4life

    Nasir Jones aka The Greatest Rapper of ALL Time! and met him personally most humble person..that shit cray..

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