Nas Didn’t Like “One Time 4 Your Mind”, Would’ve Made “Illmatic” a “Quadruple Album” + More

(AllHipHop) Today (April 15th), Nas released the 20th anniversary commemorative album for Illmatic. Spotify rounded up Large Professor, Pete Rock, DJ Premier, Nas and the woman who signed Nas to Columbia, Faith Newman to discuss secrets behind the making of the greatest rap album of all time.

DJ Premier produced three tracks on Nas’ seminal debut album, “Memory Lane (Sittin’ in da Park)“, “Represent” and “NY State of Mind. According to Premier, it was a recording session from the Large Professor-produced “One Time 4 Your Mind” that showed Nas’ improvisational rap skills and how he initially didn’t like the song:

The way it is on the album, he was just freestyling and just bugging out. I thought maybe he’d rerecord it later on, but that version that’s on there is the one I witness. I remember Nas was like ‘I don’t like it, I’mma trash it.’

Nas admits that he did not choose the classic tracklist for Illmatic but allowed the people at SONY to craft the album’s sequencing. While he did not choose the exact order, Nas reveals that the shortest album of his career could have ended up being one of the longest albums in Hip Hop history:

I didn’t really choose them, because it was too much to chose. I had the songs, they were apart of the list. But I couldn’t, because it was so many things I wanted to put on there it would’ve been a quadruple album.

Check out Spotify’s full Landmark episode on Illmatic below:

[spotify id=”spotify:album:3JGUVcNpiF9LagS2bWZWDX” width=”300″ height=”380″ /]

  • therealest1

    Most overrated album ever shit. The shit was underwhelming in terms of quantity to qualify as a classic. It didn’t have enough songs to certify it as a classic. I assumed classic albums should have at least 10 or 11 songs to be considered that. 9 songs on that overrated piece of shit doesn’t count in my book.

    This N!gger is the most overrated rapper as well. The Source even before Benzino’s involvement was always on his dick trying to pump him up. This ass clown will never be the second coming of Rakim as purported by them and all fanboys.

    • johnblacksad

      I been said there’s no way Illmatic is BY FAR the best hip hop album ever.

      • Obi Won

        No one can say ANY one album is the best hip hop album ever, all we can say is its One of the Best ever.

      • One of the best for sure, comp is to steep for a clear winner.

        Nation Of Millions & Edutainment ( By Any Means ) changed consciousness in rap.

        Nas ushered in an era too though.

    • Ain’t No Future In Yo Frontin’


    • Thomas Smith

      Wow its amazing how people sit there such as yourself and call one of the most important records in hip hop culture overrated…..and got other haters to agree with your bullshit argument….smmfh the first part of illmatic starts with a sample from one of if not the bible of hip hop culture “wild style”…..”new york state of mind” overrated??? wtf “life’s a bitch” overrated??? GTFOH you ain’t about hip hip none of the 3 people that had commented on this page… sad to see people hate on nas, who’s longevity has been respected over years even with his style of rap….you motherfuckers don’t know shit…..

      • therealest1

        You don’t know shit because you go with The Source and the crowd regarding Nas. People like you go with the flow and don’t think for yourself, its o.k. to have your own mind even if its against the grain.

        Its not hate when people have their own opinion.

        There are many rappers who have been around for years, it doesn’t make them great though. Believe it or not, perhaps the worst rapper ever, Nelly, is still in the game. Even mediocre rappers can have longevity like Nas as long as there’s a major label backing them.

        Nas will never have the impact of several rappers, i.e. 2Pac, The Notorious B.I.G., Redman, Method Man, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg. LL Cool J, and many more I can’t begin to name.

      • Thomas Smith

        backing nas you don’t know shit…..have you ever seen the contract he signed with searchlite and colombia records??? backing Colombia records never backed nas’s first album they didn’t even put out 500,000 tapes or records of his album when it first came out the reason why illmatic went gold was because of his second album’s success and that took over 4yrs to go gold so what are talking about the “source crowd” I knew the possibilities with nas from live at the barbecue man what are you saying???? then you got and say that nas didn’t have impact like the following rappers but if you pay attention to your list all those artists got backing from there labels and all those are apart of the “source crowd too” smmfh what are you talking about…..the fact that illmatic is even talked about to this day after 20yrs is a huge achievement…..and why you put LL cool j in the conversation and he’s been out since 84′ what’s that about……smmfha….

      • Leo Heem

        Don’t waste your time, no matter how you explain it they don’t have a connection to that energy that was felt when Nas came on the scene. All the best hip hop producers of that time either worked on his album or were dying to work on it. Every borough in New York was reciting his verses. On the strength of Illmatic, he was the only outsider emcee to be on a Wu-Tang album (which he murdered). Dr. Dre signed The Firm just to be able to work with Nas. But I guess Primo, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, Large Pro, Wu-Tang and Dr. Dre are just “source crowds”

        To hip hop purists things like this is personal, Live at the barbecue, Halftime and Back to the grill (I’;m waving automatic guns at nuns) set the stage for my anticipation of his album. So when Flex premiered “It ain’t hard to tell” in January 94, I caught the hip hop holy ghost and so did the Tri-state. As far as we were concern, his album was going to make him the Hip Hop Messiah

      • To bad he didn’t live up to it…but I co-sign your post 100%.

        Not the GOAT, but in the debate.

      • ghettogov

        Who is the goat then? And I’m not saying he is but if someone say Nas is the goat he one of the closest…he do got more hot songs than any other mainstream artists and its extremely difficult to argue otherwise…

      • KRS

      • SBRon

        Hard to argue against Knowledge Reigns Supreme…

      • Judah Nazayar


      • Nas ripped the BBQ!

        Less Than Zero too.
        “Cause I get as ill as a convict who kills for phone time!”

      • Judah Nazayar

        イェあh。。。てlllth氏sふぉおl!!= YEAH, TELL THIS FOOL!!!

      • HUH?

        Red? Meth? Snoop?


        LL understandable, but Nas is a better MC than Red, Meth & Snoop, no hate….but …

      • Judah Nazayar

        ummmmmm, lest take Mef outta that statement….

      • Meth netter than Nas?????

      • Judah Nazayar

        Mef is hard as shet. Mef went wrong..(in my opinion)..when he saw how Big 50 and Jay got. Now he wanted to shed the “dark” mef..and bring a more human/lighter side of his self/brand. Then like a comedic side kinda came…i think ppl were thrown off..(i was..i kno i kno..change and growth)… But u will never hear mef come wid a subpar verse.. I think he shoulda exploited that dark mef shet more.. him,…these like..”character guys” have the most potential.. ppl will always support them. they can do themed albums,comics, anime.

    • Obi Won

      Na, I wouldn’t say overrated. But the album was Classy, Street, Intelligent & Timeless all rolled in one. At the time that lil negro painted the picture viscously. I had never seen or been to New York but by the time that album was done, I was there mentally. I could careless about what a magazine says, 5 mics, XXL, whatever. People talked about the mona lisa like it was the greatest art piece out, all I saw was a chick smirking. But again i’m no art collector nor do I care about picture painting. But when it comes to this culture, Illmatic is one of our Masterpieces.

      • Well put..Illmattic ain’t the GOAT…but it’s definitely worthy of be being compared to it!

    • YaheardSyndicate

      what? come on man. John Coltrane puts 4 songs on an album.

  • MrNoName2K

    The terms “GREATEST OF ALL TIME” and “CLASSIC” dosent hold weight like it used to. Its like everything cant be considered the “greatest(whatever) of all time” far as Illmatic goes, I wouldnt use GREATEST RAP ALBUM OF ALL TIME”, maybe “one of the most memorable”..that NY State of Mind still goes in tho!

    • therealest1

      I agree with most of your points. You know what’s pathetic nowadays though, its that newer era artists actually proclaim their albums as classic before they’re even released.

      • MrNoName2K

        ^2.. for real tho, its all that saturated watered down bs my nigga, you know whats up

  • YaheardSyndicate

    When illmatic came out pretty much 95% of rappers changed their style of beats, slang and dress.

  • JimJames29

    Let me ask you something, if ILLMATIC is not the best hiphop album OAT, then what is? Some will say Wu-Tang, others Biggie, Jay, Mobb Deep, of ffin Afrika Bambaataa. But there is no other album that so many people can agree on. If you don’t agree illmatic is the best, for one reason or another, then tell us what IS the best album of all time, because no matter what you choose, there will be way more people disagreeing with that choice.

    • JimJames29

      The best hiphop album of all time is obviously PURPLE HAZE.

    • KRS – Edutainment / PE’s Nation Of Millions

      Illmattic is still a str8 banger though!

      • Judah Nazayar

        idk if krs…besides album number 1..crimnal minded.. and he has dope albums..but edutainment is not messing wid anything near or around Illmatic..

      • i BEG TO DIFFER, Return of The Boom Bap, as well, but what about Nation Of Millions?

        Hard to say Illmattic was better or had more of an impact, IMHO.

      • Judah Nazayar

        Nations of Millions is def a contender for greatest HipHop album of alltime. It made a great impact..especially when europeans were rockin to it. metal bands(Anthrax)..covered them. I dont think nikaz knew they were listening to HIPHOP METAL. Those producer dudes were hip to Metal acts like Slayer=she watch channel zero. The opening track to PEs Apocalypse 91 album is Black Flag. Black Steele in the hour of i just heard that original. The beats on that album were Metal riffs..devoid of melody..or very lil.. loud sirens and kilter scratching..heavy bass. and lyrics that u have to do research to see who chuck was talking about. Al the same time..i never said ILLmatic is greatest album. It maybe Nations.
        It maybe Wu Tang Forever.. it maybe What the FuKK is Jay Electronica<—(show me a better body of work than this??)
        … Maybe Niggaz 4 Life/NWA

      • NWA / Death Certificte kinda go together as a joint album, the 1st after the break up.

        Never heard jay E’s.

        Chuck went deeper than Atlantis.

        Wu Tang’s = Classic

      • Judah Nazayar

        well.. i dont know if i can throw Death their due to production But Cubes 1st major solo is great!! i gotta get that again. U gotta get Jay e..just down load that joint..its a mixtape.. 22 tracks of poetry..over the reedik production of DILLA DOG…J.DILLA……

      • Pirate7X

        IT TAKES A NATION OF MILLIONS TO HOLD US BACK by PUBLIC ENEMY is probably the best complete album from beginning to end.

        3 FEET HIGH & RISING and DE LA SOUL IS DEAD are in the same arena.

    • Judah Nazayar

      it was written>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>illmatic


        That’s the truth no one ever wants to admit. Nas stepped his delivery WAY UP, his stories were super clever and the beats were flawless. ‘Take It In Blood’ ‘The Message’ ‘I Gave You Power’ ‘Suspects’ ‘Shootouts’ ‘Live Nigga Rap’.. Damn I just realized I wanted to post the dope gems oand was about to write out the whole album. Ha! Whole joint bangs!

    • Mark Lamount Burns

      While I do hold Illmatic in a very high regard, I have to say that my favorite album of all time is “Black on Both Sides” by Mos Def. I started really digging into hip hop in the 90’s, and while I was aware of hip hop’s pioneers I was more caught up in Wu-Tang, Boot Camp Clik, Cella Dwellas, etc. When Black on Both Sides was released, it opened a whole new perspective of hip hop for me and actually MADE me go back to the 80’s and 70’s and learn to appreciate the beginning of hip hop on my own. So for me, it’s “Black on Both Sides”.

    • Pirate7X

      See my list above. I’ll pick 5:

      = CRITICAL BEATDOWN —Ultramgnetic MC’s

      = DAILY OPERATION — Gangstarr

      = IT TAKE A NATION OF MILLIONS…— Public Enemy

      = RAISING HELL — Run-DMC

      = FOLLOW THE LEADER — Eric B. & Rakim

      In the early/mid-90’s era, ONLY BUILT FOR CUBAN LINKS by Raekwon was probably a better complete album than ILLMATIC. Just the opinion of an ol’ head purist.

  • Ok, name them……

    • Judah Nazayar

      ya know? this is the most i ever seen the nikah type.
      an when he does type.. its a bunch of Boolshet.
      ironic shit..

      • He let the whiteboy in him show with this comment, edited to pass moderation.

        He used the N word…”ER”.

        Says a lot about him.

        “This pathetic site is on N!**er Nas’ dick like The Source by proclaiming overrated shitty ass Illmatic as the greatest album of all time. What a fuckin’ insult to many legitimately classic albums! I’m sure real fans with common sense can name about 20 albums way better than Illmatic.”

      • Judah Nazayar

        smh… Seeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee?????????
        but u how they do… thats that serpent

    • HadesBaby

      smh try ray and ghost :/ Rae COMPLETELY ripped Nas delivery for Cuban Linx…you would think they was from Queens had they not claimed Staten originally. New York had its primary deliveries, but it was def that Q Bridge swag that reigned supreme that year. Cuffing one leg of the Damage shorts and tims NEVER caught on out side conneticut however lbvs

      • That year?

        Maybe, with Mobb Deep, Akinele? etc..

        That was the year Queens re emerged after KRS had shut the whole borough down for like 10yrs?

        To me, the true sign of greatness, is each album being better than the previous, not the 1st being the best.

        EPMD – Every album was better than the previous….until the break up.

      • HadesBaby

        uh, ATCQ. I think not sir. I’d give KRS more credit but then I remembered he fucks with Alex Jones. But no. Queens aint never been shut down..good try though…

        Run DMC ahem
        Organized Konfusion..Ahem
        LL (NCIS..AHEM)

        Oh…engine engine numba nine….need I go on..nonononon how about…Before I had status and before I had a pager.

        cmon g…a little biased sounds like. 10 years shut down, no way

        And to add to your best example, EPMD, made sue they featured LL on their 3rd biggest single, Rampage.

        but there was a re emergence. Queens ran the early 90’s

      • 5 yrs?

        (* A little biased )

        After “The Bridge is over” there was a gap until Nas & Mobb.

      • Judah Nazayar

        wait, he s right. Uhh.. RunDMC Raising Hell….and or.. RunDmc Rundmc(1st album)… are effing great!! and cou;d also be considered.
        if only Rakim had better production ..the instrumentals and weird shet wasnt hot…

      • RN DMC = GOATS but that was b4 – The Bridge is Over.

        Remember, Shan picked up the torch for Queens with “The Bridge.”

        Mikey D always held it down on the underground, he just wasn’t making records.

      • HadesBaby

        Road To Riche$ ?? Cmon g 10 years is a long time

      • G Rap don’t count…no shutting him down & he wasn’t in that beef…even though he was in the Juice Crew.

      • HadesBaby

        :/ how was he not in the beef first of all, second, Queens aint never been shut down for ten years, and finally, who in they right mind battled GRap and won

      • G Rap sat that out.

        5YRS shut down…not counting G rap.

        Mikey D was in the trenches….but not making records.
        89, 90, 91, 92?

        What dropped from Queens…let alone QB?
        “It’s the Ahk! Hahaa!” in ’92?

      • Judah Nazayar

        mikey D. I remember him, he tried 2 diss LL..
        then i never heard from the fella ever again.

      • Peep Travis Jacobs in the opening –


        Mikey D is a beast!

      • HadesBaby

        ts good to see people debatin about real music, not this radio crap . great rounded points all around

      • No doubt!

        Much better than them ninjaz talking that Drake, Ro$$ BS!

      • Judah Nazayar


      • Judah Nazayar


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  • HadesBaby

    besides, evryone knows Low End Theory is the best of all time, followed by Wu Tangs 2nd album. The most sonically consistent. Best crack rap album of all time is OB4CL, and then best New York storied rapper album is Life After Death, followed by Makavelli. Midnight Marauders was dope, just not doper than Low End Theory. Illmatic was just good timing. Ready To Die was perfect timing. 36 Chambers, Perfect Timing, Return To The 36 Chambers, Ultimae timing, but Life After Death, scary extra shit timing. I will say this, my attention span for 1 loop beats got a little longer after illmatic, but not much. The production was lazy, but for good reason. Again I digress, 90’s new york producers didnt do SH!T lol…AT ALL. Filtering is an effect, not a god damn bridge.

    • Yeah but…that ‘chet was cutting edge back then…compared to the previous jawnts that sounded like fried chicken.

    • Pirate7X

      I’ll assume you are under 35 and not as educated on great Hip Hop albums before ’94. You likely know nothing of:

      = CRITICAL BEATDOWN — Ultrmagnetic MC’s 1989
      = MECCA & THE SOUL BROTHER — Pete Rock & CL Smooth 1992
      = DAILY OPERATION — Gangstarr 1992
      = IT TAKE A NATION OF MILLIONS…— Public Enemy 1988
      = BREAKING ATOMS — Main Source 1990 (Nas’ 1st appearance on record)
      = BIZARRE RIDE II THE PHARCYDE — The Pharcyde 1992
      = DE LA SOUL IS DEAD — De la Soul 1991
      = STUNTS, BLUNTS & HIP HOP — Diamond D & Psychotic Neurotics 1991

      …to start with a very small sampling. Do the knowledge and reconsider your position on NYC producers also by listening to some Beatnuts, Showbiz, Beatminers, Buckwild, Prince Paul, Bomb Squad, etc. .

  • GQ

    My favorite joint off Illmatic is Memory Lane. It spoke to me