Nas: Time Is Illmatic

Critics Consensus

Comprehensive yet brisk, Nas: Time Is Illmatic offers an absorbing look at a hip-hop classic and the life of the artist who made it.



Total Count: 38


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,142
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Movie Info

Synopsis: Twenty years after the release of Nas's groundbreaking debut album 'Illmatic,' NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC takes us into the heart of his creative process. Returning to his childhood home in Queensbridge, Nas shares stories of his upbringing, his influences - from the music of his jazz musician father Olu Dara to the burgeoning hip-hop scene in New York City - and the obstacles he faced before his major label signing at age 20. Featuring interviews with his 'Illmatic' producers (Large Professor, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, L.E.S., and DJ Premier) and musical peers (including Pharrell Williams and Alicia Keys), NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC is a thrilling account of Nas's evolution from a young street poet to a visionary MC. (C) Tribeca


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Critic Reviews for Nas: Time Is Illmatic

All Critics (38) | Top Critics (17) | Fresh (38)

  • An essential celebration of the New York rapper's groundbreaking 1994 album.

    Oct 30, 2014 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • A strikingly photographed and genuinely revealing exploration of the early influences that formed one of the most distinctive voices in rap.

    Oct 23, 2014 | Rating: 3/5

    Wendy Ide

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • Flirts with glamorising the rags-to-rap-to-riches story, but in doing so stays true to its subject.

    Oct 23, 2014 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Henry Barnes

    Top Critic
  • A well-made and well-shot companion piece to the album, telling the story of Nas' early life and the circumstances that led to his birth as a hip-hop legend.

    Oct 10, 2014 | Rating: B | Full Review…
  • Time Is Illmatic does a terrific job of weaving hip-hop history into a highly personal story.

    Oct 10, 2014 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • The movie is inspiring and tragic, and, directed by street artist One9, it's captured in an artful, emotional way that will speak to an audience beyond rap fans.

    Oct 9, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Nas: Time Is Illmatic

  • Mar 25, 2016
    An informative and revealing documentary that takes a thrilling look at an artist's life and the many factors that motivated him to create such an extremely influential album regarded ever since its birth as a seminal piece of artistic cry against social oppression.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer

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