While attending the Nas-based Time Is Illmatic documentary screening in New York recently, Raekwon spoke about how Hip Hop would be different if Nas was not around.

“If Hip Hop didn’t have Nas, we’d be in trouble,” Raekwon says in an interview with BET. “If he wasn’t here, we wouldn’t have such great emcees from New York City representing Hip Hop the way he does.” 

Michael Raport, the director of the 2011 film Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest, also addressed Nas’ importance to the genre. 

“Nas to Hip Hop is like [Vincent] van Gogh to painting or Thelonious Monk to Jazz,” Rapaport says. “Nas is a staple of Hip Hop. He’s one of the few people who started in the ’90s who is still relevant today. He’s very important. Nas is a big deal.” 

Raekwon and Rapaport were on hand, along with Robert Deniro and Wale, among others, to celebrate the screening of Time Is Illmatic.

Nas, who was also present, discussed the film on the red carpet. “I wasn’t even involved with it until the last minute,” Nas says. “But I’m glad they did it. You gotta go through it. These are the things that happen. You make records. Somebody listens. They have something to say about it. These guys have something to say about it, so here we are.”  

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