Nas’ debut album, Illmatic, was released April 19, 1994. In order to celebrate the project’s 20-year anniversary, Nas is set to release illmatic XX tomorrow (April 15). HipHopDX looked back into its archives for the most popular Illmatic-centered stories from 2008 through July 2012. They are as follows: 

Large Professor Reacts To Illmatic Being Turned To Book

In September 2008, Large Professor spoke with HipHopDX about Dr. Michael Eric Dyson’s plans to write a book focused on Nas’ 1994 album. 

“It means a lot,” Large Pro said regarding Dyson’s announcement at the time. “That’s what we were working for though…It’s finally paying off. It was a lot of hard work put into getting that album how it was even getting Nas to that point. It’s finally payin’ off. Sometimes, it’s a delayed reaction with things. Back in the days, my father would tell me, ‘You’re ahead of your time.’ I didn’t know what that meant. Sometimes that’s a good thing and a bad thing. You get a grasp on it, and you understand what it is, and you realize it.

“That was a lot of power, a lot of energy that went into that,” Large Professor added. “That wasn’t just [a year-long project]. That was years in the making. The power is there. It’s still alive.”

To read more of Large Professor’s commentary regarding Illmatic’s significance, click here

DJ Premier Talks Rejected Beats, Recreating Illmatic Line-Up

In January 2009, DJ Premier spoke about Nas’ production team on Illmatic, a group of producers that included Preemo, Pete Rock and Large Professor, among others. 

“I wish Nas would do an album again with just the original team,” DJ Premier said at the time. “Me, Q-Tip, Large Pro[fessor], Pete [Rock] and L.E.S. If Nas could just do one album with all of us again, it would be over successful because we all gonna come with it.” 

To read more about DJ Premier’s stance on the Illmatic line-up of producers and to read about his rejected beats, click here.

Nas Reflects On Illmatic Producers, A Belly Sequel

In August 2011, Nas spoke about the production team behind Illmatic and how their work together changed the landscape of Hip Hop in some peoples’ eyes. 

“My man was telling me this,” Nas said at the time, “That my album was the first album to come out with multiple producers that was killing the game. Before that, Erick Sermon did EPMD, Bomb Squad did [Public Enemy], [DJ] Premier did Gang Starr, Pete Rock did CL [Smooth]… It was just one house, one team, one man controlling all the sound. He said, ‘Yo man, you changed the game when you did this.'” 

To read more about Nas’ Illmatic production team and a possible Belly sequel, click here

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

In March, 2012, Nas reminisced about his debut album and its sound.

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

To read more about Nas’ perspective on Illmatic and to read about “One Love’s” creation, click here

Nas Says Illmatic Was “Perfect” & That Life Is Good Is “Excellence”

In July 2012, Nas was asked if he would change anything about his debut album. 

“Nothing,” he said of what he would change on Illmatic. “It’s nine songs on there. The intro makes it ten, but it’s only nine songs. I think it’s a perfect record. It’s a perfect record. I couldn’t say that before, but there are so many different dynamics to it.” 

To read more regarding Nas’ take on Illmatic’s “perfect” rating, click here.  

Tomorrow, HipHopDX is set to publish Nas’ “Illmatic” News Stories In Review: April 2012-2014. 

RELATED: Nas Announces “illmaticXX” Release Date, Cover Art & Tracklisting