The term “classic” gets thrown around a little too much these days. But when it comes to albums that most people would consider an undeniable classic, Nas’ Illmatic certainly fits the bill. It’s been nearly 30 years since the 10-track album was unleashed to the masses and plenty of people still call it one of the greatest Hip Hop albums ever made.
And you can count Big Daddy Kane as one of the people that believes this.
Kane recently appeared on the Idea Generation to discuss a number of topics and he recalled a time when he met Nas at Unique Studios in 1994, shortly after Illmatic dropped. Nas proved himself to be humble in the presence of the legendary Kane and engaged in a conversation where he looked to get some advice from the “Ain’t No Half Steppin” rapper. But all Kane wanted to do was tell the young Queensbridge emcee that his album was absolutely perfect.
“I’m telling him how phenomenal his album is, and he keeps asking me what he should have done different,” Kane said. “People exaggerate with these 5 mic album [ratings], but your shit is a true 5 mic album.”
For the young ones reading this, the 5-mic rating was The Source’s measuring stick for albums. Back in the 90s it was The Source that guided Hip Hop heads on whether an album was dope or garbage. Nas was one of 15 albums to earn the distinction and Kane wanted Nasir Jones to know how significant his contribution was.
But Nas pressed and Kane did give him the advice he wanted.
“If it was me, I would have had one song on there for the ladies because they buy records too,” he said. “That’s me, you did what you do, it was perfect. You don’t need to do what I do, Kane said before adding that one needs to be careful sharing that sort of information as not to change the direction of an aspiring artist.”
Did Nas need a song for the ladies?