NYC’s Tribeca Film Festival will welcome hometown rap icon Nas when its 2014 edition opens with the world premiere of Time Is Illmatic, a documentary on the Queens-bred rapper and his seminal 1994 album Illmatic. The multi-platinum-selling MC will also stage a special performance of the entire album in order following the Tribeca premiere kicking off the fest on April 16. Pic tracks the making of Illmatic and how Nas evolved from Nasty Nas to Esco to Escobar and, later, to Nastradamus, examining the musical influences that shaped Nas as a budding artist growing up in the Queensbridge projects with a jazz musician father and brother Jabari “Jungle” Fret.
Nas’s debut in Illmatic is still regarded as a benchmark in hip hop history for its lyricism and socially conscious inner city themes. The album’s 20th anniversary has been a hot property of late, with Xbox plotting 1990s-set series Street Dreams based on Nas’s origins. Time is Illmatic is directed by One9 and written by Erik Parker. One9, Parker, and Anthony Saleh are producers. Pic was made with support from The Ford Foundation’s Just Films and Tribeca Film Institute’s Tribeca All Access program.
In addition to coming full circle as a Tribeca-affiliated project, Time is Illmatic has NYC roots in Nas, One9, and Parker. “Those guys and I come from the same place and era, which gives the doc an authenticity that is important to me,” said Nas. “We wanted this film to represent the real, from the storyline all the way down to the directors and producers.” The timing also coincides with the release of Illmatic XX, a 20th anniversary re-release of the landmark album which Sony will put out April 15. The full slate of Tribeca titles will be announced in March.
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