In honor of the 20th anniversary of the release of Nas’ debut album, Illmatic, journalist/radio personality Minya “Miss Info” Oh spoke with Complex about giving the album five mics in The Source. Miss Info, who wrote her review under the pen name Shortie, credited her confidence in writing the piece to her editors at The Source who she says allowed her to be both a critic and a fan.
“At the time I think that the reason why—I had like amazing editors,” she said. “They were very clear about letting me be a critic and a fan sort of in a bubble. I was definitely sheltered from the industry. And I remember feeling like I didn’t have the right to say that it should be five mics, but having to. Like just saying I’ve tried to approach it every different way and it’s such a classic it can’t get anything less.”
When asked if there was anyone who questioned her five mic review of Illmatic, Miss Info says there were those who questioned giving Nas’ album the highest rating possible in The Source, since it was a feat that hadn’t been reached by an artist in quite some time.
“There were definitely some people who were like ‘Nah, we just can’t give it five mics off principle,’” Miss Info said. “Because they hadn’t for a while. And it was just the—It was like saying something is perfect. And you assume nothing is perfect. But the thing that I’m so happy about now 20 years later is that it really did stand the test of time. And I don’t think there’s anybody on the planet that feels like it didn’t deserve five mics. So, you go through life and sometimes you get it right and sometimes you get it wrong. And I’m just glad, really glad that I was a part of getting it right.”
Miss Info later revealed that there isn’t any album today that’s worthy of receiving five stars in The Source, but did credit Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar for releasing an album that would come close to a perfect rating.
“No, I don’t think so…I think that there’s been high, I mean, super high moments. Even Kendrick’s album. Just incredible. But I think that it’s also harder because it’s competing against so much more than Nas was in that very perfect time,” Info said.
With this month marking the 20th anniversary of Illmatic, Nas has celebrated its release with a handful of events. Along with Southern duo OutKast, the Queensbridge rapper served as one of the headliners at the Coachella music and arts festival last weekend.
Nas also appeared at this week’s premiere of Time Is Illmatic, a documentary that details the making of Illmatic. The film premiered during the Tribeca Film Festival and was attended by the likes of Nas and Raekwon.