Nas: Time Is Illmatic (2014)


Critic 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.


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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 (37) | Top Critics (15)

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…
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…

As both an origin story about a great artist and a distillation of '80s urban blight, it's as breathless and real as any street-corner rhyme.

Oct 3, 2014 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

The album lives as a touchstone, and a turning point, in New York hip hop. The film may be far less significant, but it does bear witness to the music's greatness.

Oct 2, 2014 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Nas: Time Is Illmatic

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 Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

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