In commemoration of the now 20 year old epic rap album, Illmatic, 40-year old rapper Nas has taken to HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher to express his thoughts on the new/old project for it’s anniversary. [The new anniversary album , Illmatic XX, will be a package deal to celebrate the journey with it featuring a bonus disc containing rare remixes, demos, and freestyles. Released by Sony Legacy, the album will also be joined with Time is Illmatic, a feature-length documentary about the making of the album, directed by One9 and Erik Parker.]
During his appearance on the politically themed late night talk show, the Queens rapper reflects on XXX. Check out some excerpts below.
Bill Maher: For 20 years, why do you think this album has stood the test of time?
I hear that it was a real game changer. I was a new guy and I had some of the best producers of rap work on it, so I was lucky.
Bill Maher: What do you think is the main message in this album?
It’s sort of philosophical, sorta like even Jazz as far as the music. It’s like a combination of street realities, rebelliousness, and melodies.
Bill Maher: At 40, do you look back and say ‘Wow, 19 year old me, why did you do that?’
Yeah a little bit. But for the most part I was really lucky because there’s a lot of friends of mine that had albums that came out around this time and for some reason, there’s a difference… It holds up pretty well, because the stuff I’m talking about on there is relevant today.
Bill Maher: Who would’ve thought that poetry would’ve been the mark of such tough people?
I don’t know any soft poets. There may be some guys that have different kind of stories than I tell, of course.
Bill Maher: MTV once said that you were the #5 greatest rapper of all time, that must bug the sh*t out of you?!
Nah, it’s crazy because its like kids are going to always have their #1, ya know? I’m 40 so they got their new guys now for me to be at #5, it’s a humbling thing for me. I’m really exciting to keep my career going now because if I can stay #5 right here on anybody’s list in mainstream because I’m not mainstream, I don’t think I’m mainstream, so if that mainstream audience can see me in the top 5 then I’m good money.
Bill Maher: You don’t play that game where you get the pop star to put the hook on it do ya? Who do you like?
Oh, I’ll do that. I like Adele and I’m old school, I like Sade.
Bill Maher: I know you and Jay-Z put out a song called “Black Republicans”, what’s up with that?
It’s like, we get the American plan, we get what it is, we understand whats going on. We can get down with that, we can get down with any program that’s going on as long as its fair and it’s right.
Check out the full clip below:
[Real Time with Bill Maher]