DJ Khaled recently acquired a rare photograph of Nas from his Illmatic era. It appears to have captivated him. Taking to Instagram on Wednesday, the We The Best mogul shared the black and white photo. The shot captures a young Nas standing at an intersection in the Queensbridge housing projects, looking back at the camera. Additionally, Khaled posted a video about it. In the clip, the producer expressed his admiration for the picture. He mentioned that the photographer who took it for Nas’ Illmatic album in 1993 signed it and gave it to him. He referred to it as a classic, representing the essence of hip-hop.
Danny Clinch, renowned photographer, took the photo of Nas. It was taken during the shoot for the rapper’s debut album. Clinch discussed the iconic photoshoot in a 2014 interview with Billboard. In the story, the photographer recounting how Nas guided him around his neighborhood, leading to the capturing of memorable shots. Clinch described Nas as a wise poet who was ahead of his time. Additionally, he highlighted that during that era, hip-hop artists represented their roots and shared stories of their upbringing. Furthermore, he said that Nas epitomized this with Illmatic, making the album particularly special.
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Nas’ “Illmatic” Impact
Nas’ Illmatic is widely regarded as one of the greatest rap albums of all time. The Library of Congress even added it to their collection in 2021. Librarian Carla Hayden emphasized the cultural, historical, and aesthetic significance of the album. Furthermore, she said they considered it an audio treasure worth preserving for future generations. Released on April 19, 1994, “Illmatic” debuted at No. 12 on the Billboard 200 chart. It went on to sell over 63,000 copies in its first week. The album achieved 2x platinum certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in February 2019. It had already sold a million copies by December 2001.
DJ Khaled and Nas have collaborated multiple times throughout the years. It makes sense that he would like to have such an important piece of Nas’ history. The pair’s most recent joint effort was “Sorry Not Sorry” featuring JAY-Z. It was included on Khaled’s 2021 project, Khaled Khaled. What do you think of DJ Khaled’s reaction to getting the picture?
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