Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
In this Love Letter To A Record series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.
eleven7four – Nas – ‘Illmatic’(1994)
There is a lot of debate about who had the most influence on hip hop during the ’90s. We can all fight about who did the most but it’s fair to say there was a lot going on at the time whether your god was MF Doom, Jay Z, Nate and or Snoop Dogg. New Yorkers love debating over who their greatest MC is, this is no joke after spending sometime over there. Before knowing “album mode” was ever a thing, one album made us understand the importance of having a cohesive project. This album is almost unlistenable if you’re not listening from start to finish. Our urban portal provided by the one and only, the best to ever touch the mic. What is it?? The MC is most certainly NAS and the album… ILLMATIC.
Just to think he started recording that album when he was 17 and blessed the world with it at the sweet age of 21. You know that saying, “don’t ever change for the world.” Illmatic being 26 years young, the feeling it gave listening to it the first time 10 years ago is the same feeling it still gives us today. NAS’ dexterity behind the pen is just unmatched. So vivid with his storytelling, songs like ‘NY State Of Mind’, even before having gone, there it really makes you feel like you’re in the city. It’s funny to think we were 15 when this album first blessed our ears. We became obsessed, it would be on repeat literally to the point we could recite the entire album word for word without even stuttering. Shingi even used ‘Halftime’ for his first skate part which you can still find somewhere in the depths of YouTube.
Listen to eleven7four’s latest single ‘Where It Hurts’. Their debut album ‘What’s The 1174? (Side 1)’, due on June 19.