On April 19, 1994, Columbia Records released the debut album of a 20-year-old from Queensbridge Houses in New York City. It was deft, wise, deadly serious and matched the babyface with unparalleled promise to beats made by the era’s preeminent producers.
Two decades after Illmatic, Nas sat down with Microphone Check for a conversation that moved from his love for Ali Shaheed Muhammad’s group, A Tribe Called Quest, to music journalism (“If you’re Sade, it doesn’t matter. She does what she does. But for all of us, journalism is a huge deal.”) hearing himself on the radio for the first time and his audience:
“My surroundings. The hip-hop community also,” says Nas. “So that meant I made it for other rappers, I made it for other MCs, I made it for other hip-hop groups. I made it for artists, singers, people in the arts — that’s who I made it for. But it comes from the street, so my surroundings wrote that album. I made it for them.”
Truth is Beauty by Marco Cochrane
One of the most eye-catching artworks at this year’s Burning Man festival was a 55-feet tall sculpture of a woman in a beautifully elegant pose. Truth is Beauty is the second of three sculptures in a series called The Bliss Project by artist Marco Cochrane. Constructed of welded steel rods and balls and covered in stainless steel mesh skin, the massive sculpture had interactive lighting effects that made it constantly change.
My new sounds: