Record Label: Columbia
Illmatic XX is a 2 disc, 20th anniversary special edition featuring new artwork, a 24 page booklet with new liner notes by Sacha Jenkins, artist tributes with rare & previously unseen photos. Disc 1, the original debut album, has been remastered from the original source tapes and disc 2 features 10 rare remixes, demos & freestyles from the era.
With the release of Illmatic, in 1994 Nas quickly established himself as a hip hop icon and has become one of the hottest artists on the music scene today. The landmark album has been lauded by critics as one of the most exemplary hip hop recordings of all time. Illmatic contributed to the revival of the New York City rap scene and has been consistently ranked near the top of many "best album" lists. Today, the collection remains one of the most widely celebrated and influential albums in history with Rolling Stone proclaiming, "a portrait of an artist as a hood, loner, tortured soul, juvenile delinquent, and fledgling social critic... [the album] still stands as one of rap's crowning achievements." NPR Music called the collection "[a] masterwork of story-telling, lyricism and beat-making," while upon the album s release, The Village Voice gave Nas the title of, "one of the most important writers of the 20th century."
"With Illmatic, I didn't think about it. I just did it. I believe everybody has good instincts. Now I m a man from that past and I'm supremely grateful. There's a Nigerian proverb 'What is past is prologue'. I'm here today because of Illmatic." - Nas
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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