It's been 20 years since Queensbridge rapper Nas hit the hip hop world in the head with the release of his album Illmatic, one of the most important releases in the golden "2Pac/Biggie era" of rap. Multimedia artist One9 has directed a documentary chronicling the impact of that album and this morning, the good folks at the Tribeca Film Festival announced that film, Time is Illmatic, will open their 2014 festival (which runs from April 16 to 27). What's more, Nas plans to perform the entire Illmatic album from front to back after the April 16 premiere.
Here's some more info on the film:
Time Is Illmatic traces Nas's influences and the insurmountable odds he faced in creating the greatest work of music from hip-hop's second golden era. The film tracks the musical legacy of the Jones family -- handed down to Nas from his jazz musician father, Olu Dara, the support of his Queensbridge neighborhood crew, and the loyalty of his younger brother Jabari "Jungle" Fret. Twenty years after its release, Illmatic is widely recognized as a hip-hop benchmark that encapsulates the sociopolitical outlook, enduring spirit, and collective angst of a generation of young men searching for their voice in America.
"I want to thank the Tribeca Film Festival for supporting the film with the incredible platform they've built over the years," said Nas. "It's an honor to premiere this film in my hometown. I also want to thank One9 and Erik Parker for their persistence and hard work. Those guys and I come from the same place and era, which gives the doc an authenticity that is important to me. We wanted this film to represent the real, from the storyline all the way down to the directors and producers."
"Throughout the journey, we see the metamorphosis of Nas as a young street poet, full of a rich musical legacy, transforming the pain and isolation of growing up in Queensbridge Houses into raw, honest lyrics, illuminating a spirit that inspired generations from the past, present, and the future. Experiencing the stories, passion, and energy of a modern day alchemist shaping lyrical dust to diamonds was truly an honor and we are extremely proud to premiere the film at Tribeca," said One9. "I want to thank Nas, Jungle, Olu Dara, The Jones family, the Tribeca Film Institute, and Ford Foundation for allowing Erik Parker and me to create an authentic and unfiltered documentary film."
Tribeca kicks off April 16. We'll have much more on the program as it unfolds.