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Nas: Time Is Illmatic (2014)

Time Is Illmatic (original title)
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Time Is Illmatic is a feature length documentary film that delves deep into the making of Nas' 1994 debut album, Illmatic, and the social conditions that influenced its creation. Twenty ... See full summary »




Erik Parker
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nas ... Himself
Cornel West ... Himself - Professor and Political Activist
Pharrell Williams ... Himself
Swizz Beatz ... Himself
Busta Rhymes ... Himself
Alicia Keys ... Herself
Olu Dara Olu Dara ... Himself - Nas' Father
Roxanne Shanté ... Herself
Jabari Jones Jabari Jones ... Himself - Nas' Brother
Angela Braconi Angela Braconi ... Herself - Nas' Elementary School Teacher
Marley Marl Marley Marl ... Himself - Music Producer
Large Professor Large Professor ... Himself - Hip Hop Rapper and Record Producer
Wiz Wiz ... Himself
M.C. Serch M.C. Serch ... Himself - Hip Hop MC
Faith Newman Faith Newman ... Herself - Columbia Records


Time Is Illmatic is a feature length documentary film that delves deep into the making of Nas' 1994 debut album, Illmatic, and the social conditions that influenced its creation. Twenty years after its release, Illmatic has become a hip-hop benchmark that encapsulates the socio-political outlook, enduring spirit, and collective angst of a generation of young black men searching for their voice in America. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Release Date:

3 October 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Nas: Time Is Illmatic See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$23,200, 3 October 2014, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$109,300, 3 October 2014
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Tribeca Film Institute See more »
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Technical Specs



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User Reviews

A quickfire yet insightful doco
8 July 2015 | by eddie_bagginsSee all my reviews

For any fans of rap/hip hop, One9's insightful and to the point documentary centred around Nas and his cornerstone album The Illmatic is a must see film as it offers an easy to understand and often illuminating look into the beginnings of Nas and what drew him to write material that became such a huge hit commercially and industry wise.

Nas comes across here as a thoughtful and thankful artist that is never unsure of where he came from or why he started doing what he does so well. The film however never focuses for too long on Nas alone and discovers some truly great characters along the way to discuss his life whether it be Nas's father, brother or record producers every talking head here has something informative to say and speaks honestly and openly about the ups and downs of growing up in the rough neighbourhood of Queensbridge New York, that through this documentary becomes alive with history and song.

One9 does a fantastic job or capturing the essence of this neighbourhood, the high-rise apartments and the bustling streets, you can feel how someone in the vein of Nas was inspired, shocked and formed to the artist he became. Loss of live on these streets was a common occurrence, drugs was not only a hobby but a way of live and music was an out, an event that allowed people to vent their frustrations or talk about their lives to those in it and those many worlds away from it. There are some particularly poignant moments here from Nas's personal experiences with the loss of friends or another moment where we realise that those who grew up around Nas are far less fortunate than him, a photo showing faces of young man that have mostly wallowed in a life of crime and violence instead of bettering themselves to a life more abundant.

Time Is Illmatic is neither ground-breaking nor over stylised yet it's a wonderfully down to earth and accessible look into the life of Nas and the creation of an artist born into a particular set of circumstances. We don't go away feeling like we know Nas inside and out but we do get a gage on what makes him tick and also a reminder that for many rap and hip hop is a ways to a better life and also an art form that speaks for generations but also communities.

3 and a half street BBQ's out of 5

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