Nas followed the release of the Illmatic XX deluxe reissue of his seminal 1994 debut LP with the premiere of the Time Is Illmatic documentary at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival. The feature-length film directed by One9 and written by Erik Parker was screened at the Beacon Theatre in New York City on Wednesday night, continuing the series of massive events and tributes celebrating the release of Nas’ first album. TFF co-founder Robert DeNiro presented the documentary, which explores the making of the time-honored project and the conditions that fostered the creation of it. Nas hit the stage following the screening to share personal anecdotes and perform tracks from the celebrated compilation including “The World Is Yours” and “N.Y. State Of Mind.” Check the footage below to watch a recap of the event. Our own Scott Heins attended the premiere last night for Gothamist. Read a quote below, hit the link for his full recap and learn more about the film at timeisillmatic.com.
As a historical document, Time pulls no punches. Filmmakers Erik Parker and One9 devote most of its screen time to the narrations of Nas and his brother Jabari who reflect back on friends gunned down, a father gone off, and the reality of rampant incarceration amongst their peers. This was the setting that made it possible for the then 20 years-old Nas to channel his almost superhuman determination into the making of Illmatic, which has for two decades been a hip-hop cornerstone; a ten-track foray into the peril of projects living and the artistic power that life could offer….The film was surpassed by what came after the credits rolled: the screen was raised to reveal a stage and the rapper’s name in lights. Nas walked out to a roar that ran up both balconies to the roof. After Alicia Keys covered the opening piano lines of “N.Y. State of Mind,” Nas performed Illmatic from beginning to end.