Illmatic Is 30 Today: Nas Announces Anniversary Tour, DJ Premier Collaborative Album

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Illmatic Is 30 Today: Nas Announces Anniversary Tour, DJ Premier Collaborative Album


The 20-year-old rookie Nasir Jones released his debut album Illmatic on April 19, 1994. We can argue all day about the greatest rap album of all time, but Illmatic is usually the first name that will come up in that conversation. Today is the 30th anniversary of Illmatic, and Nas has used that moment to announce something that fans have wanted for a very, very long time: His long-promised collaborative album with DJ Premier is finally happening this year.

Premier, then one half of Gang Starr, produced three of the 10 tracks on Illmatic: “NY State Of Mind,” “Memory Lane (Sittin’ In Da Park),” and “Represent.” Good songs! Over the years, Nas and Premier have reunited on tracks like “I Gave You Power” and “Nas Is Like.” They are one of the all-time great rapper/producer pairings, and they’ve been teasing the idea of a collaborative album for a very, very long time. In 2006, the two of them even appeared together on the cover of the now-defunct magazine Scratch, but the album never arrived. Now, it’s coming.

Today, Nas and DJ Premier released their new collaboration “Define My Name.” The track has the kind of hard-chopped boom-bap beat that DJ Premier still does better than anyone else, and it’s got Nas, who remains sharp, talking about the historical context of his moniker and the way that he’s surprised himself by continuing to rap at age 50. There’s a fun moment where Premier jumps on the mic at the end, and the two wrap things up by promising that it’s album time. Listen below.

And Nas has also announced an Illmatic 30th anniversary tour:

10/22 Helsinki, Finland — House of Culture
10/24 Stockholm, Sweden — B-K
10/25 Copenhagen, Denmark — Kb Hallen
10/27 Cologne, Germany — Palladium
10/30 Milan, Italy — Fabrique
10/31 Zurich, Switzerland — Halle 622
11/2 Vienna, Austria — Gasometer
11/3 Berlin, Germany — Uber Eats Music Hall
11/5 Amsterdam, Netherlands — AFAS Live
11/7 Paris, France — Le Zenith
11/8 Offenbach, Germany — Stadthalle Offenbach
11/10 Manchester, UK — Victoria Warehouse
11/11 Edinburgh, UK — Usher Hall
11/14 Wolverhampton, UK — Civic Hall
11/15 London, UK — Royal Albert Hall

“Define My Name” is out now on Mass Appeal. The Nas/Premier album doesn’t have a title or a release date or anything yet, but I’m optimistic that it’s finally actually happening. Nas has been making single-producer albums with Hit-Boy for years now, so what would stop him from doing the one that everyone wants?

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