Sure, rap albums had existed before 'Illmatic' - hip hop had produced more than its fair share of classics during the Golden Age, a period of immense artistic diversity.
But the overwhelming artistic success, the completion of its aims means that Nas' debut album 'Illmatic' continually stands apart in a classic of its own.
Released in 1994, 'Illmatic' is now set to get the expansive treatment in line with its 20th anniversary. Due later this year, 'Illmatic XX' matches re-mastered original recordings with unreleased cuts, demos, out takes and more.
With the rapper preparing a number of 'Illmatic' themed shows - including a Coachella stint - alongside a feature film about its creation, it seems that Nas is ready to re-visit his debut offering.
"With 'Illmatic', I didn't think about it. I just did it. I believe everybody has good instincts" he explains. "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'."
Clash spoke to Nas back in 2012 for an intimate, career-spanning interview - check that out HERE.
'Illmatic XX' is set to be released later this year.
Disc 1: Remastered original album
1. The Genesis
2. N.Y. State Of Mind
3. Life's A Bitch
4. The World Is Yours
6. Memory Lane (Sittin' In Da Park)
7. One Love
8. One Time 4 Your Mind
10. It Ain't Hard To Tell
Disc 2: Demos, Remixes & Live Radio
1. I'm A Villain (previously unreleased)
2. The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show on WKCR October 28, 1993 (previously unreleased freestyle)
3. Halftime (Butcher Remix)
4. It Ain't Hard To Tell (Remix)(promo single)
5. One Love (LG Main Mix)
6. Life’s A Bitch (Arsenal Mix)(promo single)
7. One Love (One L Main Mix)
8. The World Is Yours (Tip Mix)
9. It Ain't Hard To Tell (The Stink Mix)(UK single)
10. It Ain't Hard To Tell (The Laidback Remix)(UK single)
Photo Credit: Hayley Louisa Brown