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The 20th anniversary for Nas’ legendary debut album Illmatic is fastly approaching and while it may have changed the boundaries of an MC’s skill set, it wasn’t exactly a commercial success.

In fact, executive producer MC Serch and former Columbia Records A&R Faith Newman remember New York at the time to be a widespread hub for bootlegging. As in to the point where it considerably lowered the potential sales count.

“We were breaking into garages in the Bronx, because counterfeiters had 70,000 cassettes of Illmatic, with a drawing of Nas on a cross, crucified,” Serch tells REVOLT in an exclusive sitdown. Newman chimed in saying, “We would have liked to record more songs but we had to get it out because their were so many bootleg copies.”

Illmatic is widely considered one of the greatest albums Hip-Hop has ever witnessed and what Newman described as “fever pitch” at the time of its release is still being felt today. Nas is scheduled to perform the album in its entirety at this year’s Coachella and there will also be a digitally remastered re-release of the storied body of work.

Check out the video below and allow the former 3rd Bass frontman take you down “memory lane.”


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