Celebrating the 20th anniversary of his 1994 hip-hop masterpiece Illmatic, superstar MC Nas takes us on a trip down memory lane in this richly detailed documentary on his formative life and musical influences.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2014
That rare film that leaves you wanting more, this documentary pulls back the curtain on NY rapper Nas’ 1994 masterpiece Illmatic, illuminating the influences that went into creating what is generally regarded as the greatest hip-hop album ever made. “Comparable in its impact on hip-hop to that of Jackson Pollock’s splatter paintings on the art world, Illmatic seemed a prodigal work, constructed of airtight rhythms and intricate rhymes… Nas was all of 20 at the time, and best known for his electrifying guest rapping on popular singles by Main Source and MC Serch. Two decades later, Nas is close to an éminence grise, but the figure who appears onscreen for much of Time Is Illmatic appears humbled by his massive success and is quick to acknowledge those who helped pave the way (like the pioneering female rapper Roxanne Shanté), as well as those who were less lucky at surviving the Queensbridge mean streets… Time eschews third-party critical analysis in favor of keeping the focus on neighborhood and personal experience, a cinematic ‘trip down memory lane’ to complement the one Nas rapped about on Illmatic itself.” — Scott Foundas, Variety