Hip Hop scholar, author and activist Dr. Michael Eric Dyson announced yesterday that he is currently writing a book on Nas' debut album Illmatic [click to read]. The 1994 release received the coveted five mic rating from The Source magazine, and is considered by many, to be the greatest single Hip Hop album of all times.
"Every song on Illmatic will be analyzed, interpreted and then
re-articulated in a kind of intellectual sense from his own base in
Hip Hop and we’re trying to deal with that seriously," Dyson told AllHipHop.com Wednesday.
Late Wednesday, Nas' mentor, and producer of three of the album's 10 tracks, Large Professor, spoke on the significance of his work going from the musical to the literary world.
"It means a lot. That’s what we were working for though," revealed the musical creator of "Halftime," "One Time 4 Your Mind" and "It Ain't Hard To Tell," two of which were album singles. Large Professor added to HipHopDX, "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."
From first appearing on 1991's "Live At The Barbeque" [click to read] from Large Professor's then-group Main Source, the unit spent nearly three years readying the debut, which finally achieved platinum status a decade later in 2004. "That was a lot of power, a lot of energy that went into that. That wasn’t just [a year-long project], that was years in the making. The power is there. It’s still alive.”
According to Amazon, Dyson's book, formerly titled Born To Use Mics: Reading Nas' Illmatic, is planned for January 2009 publication on Basic Civitas Books.
Presently, Large Professor - now recording as "Large Pro," is releasing Main Source September 30 on Gold Dust Media. The album's intro "The Entrance," can be heard [click to listen].