Skip to main content

Nas has remixed his classic ‘Illmatic’ debut album to include an orchestra

nas illmatic orchestra music new album news
Image used with permission by copyright holder
In 1994, Nasir Jones, who is now known simply as Nas, was spewing street poetry in a genre-defining production as Nasty Nas on his classic debut album Illmatic. Nas recently decided to remix the entire Illmatic album with the help of an orchestra.

Nas began investing in media and content company Mass Appeal in 2013 and recently did what most artists only dream of — put a recording studio in the office. Peter Bittenbender, the CEO of Mass Appeal told Billboard the first thing the company did in the studio was to remix one of the greatest albums in hip hop history.

“Recently, we brought it back and they mixed the full Illmatic [album] with the orchestra guy back in the studio,” Bittenbender said, referencing Nas’ March 2014 performance with the National Symphony Orchestra at The Kennedy Center concert hall to commemorate Illmatic‘s 20th anniversary. Bittenbender says the Illmatic songs were remixed for a potential Mass Appeal concert documentary the company shot of the anniversary concert. “We don’t know when to put it out but we had to capture this moment.”

When the album was first released in 1994, it attracted immense critical praise, becoming the first album to receive the classic five-mic rating from the most venerable hip hop news publication of the time, The Source. Since then, the album has been remixed by contemporary rappers, has been made the subject of an in-depth documentary, and was listed as one of the 500 greatest albums by Rolling Stone

Although Nas rapping classic Illmatic lyrics over a plush orchestra may not be released as an album, the 23-year rap veteran is working on new music to release. The reclusive star said fans can “for sure” expect his long-awaited 11th solo album later this year. Although Nas was heard rapping about how his album was completed on DJ Khaled’s song Nas Album Done from last summer, the Queensbridge MC said the album “is not done till it hits the streets.”

BET is also producing a bio-series, Street Dreams, based on Nas’ life. There is currently no release date and Nas jokingly admits in the interview he has had trouble finding an actor to play him in the series. He has also provided original music to narrate the first season of Netflix’s The Get Down series. While he did not announce a second season of the show, he did say all future recording he will do for it will be done in the new Mass Appeal recording studio.

If you can’t wait for Nas to release the pristine footage of his Illmatic 20th anniversary concert, there are plenty of grainy, amateur shot videos of the show floating around YouTube.

Keith Nelson Jr.
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Keith Nelson Jr is a music/tech journalist making big pictures by connecting dots. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY he…
How to switch from Spotify to Apple Music
Spotify and Apple Music transfer on a smartphone.

Spotify is the world's most popular music streaming service for a reason. It has a massive catalog of music and podcasts, is full of cool music discovery and sharing features, and is really easy to use.
However, with its recent price increase and the fact that it still hasn't joined most of its peers in offering a hi-res audio quality option, you may be considering jumping ship for its closest competitor, Apple Music, which counts lossless hi-res tracks, mind-bending spatial audio, Dolby Atmos Music tracks, and a catalog that rivals Spotify's among the many attractive reasons to switch.

But there's one problem: you’ve spent a lot of time creating playlists and marking songs and albums as your favorites in Spotify. Is it worth the switch? Will all that hard work be lost in translation?

Read more
The best laptops for music production, chosen by experts
best laptops for music production

The world has gone pretty far when it comes to the processing power that we carry around with us, and if you're big into music production, then you're the luckiest of all. Some of the best laptops on the market have high-end CPUs for relatively low prices, which means that if you want to do music production on a laptop, you have a huge number of choices. Of course, that does also mean that it can be hard to navigate and pick the best laptop for your budget and needs, which is why we've done the legwork for you. We've collected our favorite picks below in various categories so that you can pick them with ease. Plus, we've even thrown in a quick guide on what to look for so that if you don't find what you want here, you can check out these other laptop deals for alternatives.
The Best Laptops for Music Production

Best overall laptop for music production:
Best Windows device for music production:
Best portable laptop for music production:
Best large-screen laptop for music production:
Best for 2-in-1 laptop for music production:

Read more
The most common Spotify problems and how to fix them
How to fix common Spotify problems

At any given time, Spotify is probably the most popular music streaming service with countless listeners tuning in to songs, stand-up, podcasts, and even audiobooks. However, between an AI-driven DJ and clients for iOS, Android, and PC, a lot of things can go wrong with the entertainment system. And that's not even including problems with your iPhone or headphones.

To make sure you get to spend as much time as possible listening and as little time as possible sorting through errors, we're providing expert tips and tricks for the most common Spotify problems. Everything from the app simply not working to aspects of Spotify glitching out. Is your Spotify not working? Try these fixes and see if your problem gets better.

Read more