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Exclusive: Both Rapsody and Fred The Godson shares their connection to Nas' classic track "Memory Lane (Sittin' In Da Park).

Whenever we pick up an album, a mixtape, even an EP, we find songs that just...stick. Whether the beat makes us feel a certain way or the lyrics resonate with us, there's something that causes an instant connection to certain songs. And sometimes it isn't even instant — sometimes an experience or a moment in our lives turns a certain song into our own personal soundtrack for our lives. With Nas' Illmatic turning 20, everyone has a favorite song (or songs). Both Rapsody and Fred The Godson both picked the track "Memory Lane (Sittin' In Da Park)" as their standout Illmatic track. Read on as the two both share their personal experiences attached to this classic track.

Rapsody

What I love just outside of the sound and feeling of memory lane is you have Nas telling the perspective of where he lives. It's like he's sitting on a bench or a stoop somewhere in the city and just writing about everything that's around him. And when I ride and I listen to "Memory Lane," it reminds me of this place I know of in "Snow Hill." You know, ["Memory Lane"] is Nas' New York scene, but what he's talking about for me is this place called Club Pines, which is the projects of Snow Hill. They were around the corner from where I live. And I didn't grow up in a neighborhood like that, but it's probably a half a mile from where I stayed. That's where all my friends stayed; all my friends that I rode the bus with stayed. When they wanted to come play basketball, they'd ride their bikes to my house. My mom and dad — they weren't strict, but they were protective of me. If there was a party, I couldn't go or if I went I couldn't stay out so late because cats end up fighting or they end up shooting or whatever. So that's what that song reminded me of. Justin Ormond, who was one of my good friends, and Traci Reid, they stayed in Club Pines. They would sit on the bus and tell these stories about what happened last night or the latest gossip of what happened in Club Pines, who got arrested or who was fighting. So every time I ride to that song it takes me back to sitting on the bus and listening to these stories with my friends and just talking about that. So that's what I love about it. You attach a memory to it — the title is "Memory Lane," after all — and that was my particular memory attached to that song. I also have an older cousin, who introduced me to Hip Hop, so I was close to him for that reason. Our family was good, but you always had the ones who hung around the bad crowd or wanted to do what they feel was cool. [My cousin] was one of those guys. He was such a big Nas fan, we used to call him Nas. He ended up going to jail for ten years, so when I hear that song too, I think of him. But it was moreso the memory of me just hanging with my friends and everything they would tell me or talk about or listen to my older sisters when they were sneakin' out the house to go to Club Pines or cousins to see a boyfriend... That's what I think of — my childhood and those stories.

Fred The Godson

I was a baby when [Illmatic] came out. I remember my uncle — he's the one who put me onto Rakim when I was a baby. 'Cause I'm the oldest out of six, you know, so everybody that was older than me...I tried to stick to them. All my friends was younger than me or my same age, but I was always like a little more advanced than them. Not to mention, I got five little brothers and sisters under me, so they asked me what to do and how to do this. So whenever  was next to somebody that was older, I always tried to stay close to them and take in the knowledge they were giving me. My uncle was the one who put me onto Rakim and then put me onto Nas. I remember listening to that, man. Then [my uncle] got locked up. When he got locked up, he left his Walkman in the house. I would just keep listening to that tape. I would walk around that house all crazy-like. I like the whole shit! [Illmatic] is incredible, but "Memory Lane" was my favorite. I just thought Nas was like Jesus' nephew or some shit. He took it to the next level. He took it to the core. Even right now, what album could you really say is really better than Illmatic? On top of that, [Nas] was by himself and on top of that the nigga only put ten joints on there! I just realized it was only ten joints like last year. I'm like, "Yo what the hell is going on, man?" You could listen to it right now. In fact, I'm gonna go sit and listen to "Memory Lane" right now.

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15 Comments

  • DaddDoWop

    Nas is the greatest rapper ever and illmatic is the greatest rap album ever. Period! No other single artist will come even close. Dude sat the bar so high, even he can't repeat.

  • Anonymous

    FRED THE GODSON LOOKS FUNNY ASS FUCK...LOL..THAT NIGGHA NEEDS TO GET RID OF EM BRAIDS FOR REAL LOOOL...

  • Anonymous

    Either this track or One Love. Both very solid tracks.

  • Anonymous

    Nas is the GOAT and Memory Lane might be the best track he ever recorded.

  • Jesus Of Nazareth

    The King Of Kings....Son Of God.... Soundcloud.com/p-ez-2

  • Anonymous

    I just find it really ironic the same time Nas released his album Kurt Cobain killed himself the same year.

    • wads

      guess what bitch. those events aint related at all. and you're mocking the death of a man who had many addiction and physical and mental health problems. so fuck outta here. and i dont even like cobain.

  • mario

    what album could I say is better than illmatic....lol public enemy takes a nation to hold us back, dr dre chronic, biggie life after death, 2pac all eyez on me, raekwon cuban links, scarface fix, mobb deep infamous and hell on earth, pete rock cl smooth mecca and the soul brother, gang starr moment of truth and step in the arena, common be, kanye west college dropout, snoop doggystyle, twista adrenaline rush ....quite a few actually

    • Optimus Rhyme

      College Dropout better than Illmatic?? LMBFAO!!!!! There are other albums as good as Ilmatic, but that's not one of them. Kanye's bars are just way too average to even come close. Nas recorded that album between the ages 18 and 20. The shit he was saying at that age is out of this world. The only other on par with Nas at such a young age was Rakim. As mere kids they were light years ahead of themselves and anyone else.

    • james

      Mario is right on a few of those...I mean Jay z reasonable doubt is more my style also. but lyrics wise illmatic was on another planet .but all those cd Mario mentioned are classics except maybe Twista....not my style

    • comachonvargas

      ^^^ @ Mario Look man...respect for all the classics (mostly) that you just named. Most of those are among my favorite albums of all time, some of them certainly deserving top five albums of all time consideration. But you are really underrating Illmatic. Illmatic has less flaws than every one of those albums. Even more, not one of those albums has nearly the volume of quotable lines and classic verses. That is what sets Illmatic apart. I mean, in nearly every verse on Illmatic, Nas flat out spits colder lines than you hear on basically every one of those albums. EVERY FUCKING VERSE. Like the dudes above me said, write out the lyrics to the Illmatic verses and compare those to the written verses of any one of the albums you just mentioned. There is simply nothing better. And after 20 years, this only serves as confirmation to those who initially thought the album was the greatest ever. A few albums come quite close (Cuban Linx most specifically), but you could even argue that Nas' verse on Verbal Intercourse is the best on that entire album. Regardless, Illmatic reigns supreme.

    • Tyrone

      I beg to differ, there is no better hiphop album ever released. I am from VA and I was in San Diego when the the Chronic and all of that dropped. I felt the impact of Death Row, and Wu-tang but for my money Illmatic, specifically Nas' lyricism is the absolute pinnacle of hiphop.

    • ilovehiphop

      @Mario; Print out the lyrics of all the albums you mentioned, get a bottle of wine and read them like you would read novels/plays/poetry/etc, then think of which albums is better than Illmatic.