In Hip Hop History Today: Nas released his debut album Illmatic April 19, 1994

There are few artists in hip-hop who have ever truly matched their hype and 21 years ago today April 19, 1994, Nas did just that. He released his highly-anticipated debut album, Illmatic on Columbia Records. Nas recorded the album in 1992–1993 at Chung King Studios, D&D Recording, Battery Studios, and Unique Recording Studios in New York City. The album debuted at #12 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling 59,000 copies in its first week. However, its initial sales fell below expectations and its five singles failed to achieve significant chart success. Despite the album’s low initial sales, Illmatic received rave reviews from most music critics, who praised its lyrical content, production, and Nas’ lyricism. On January 17, 1996, the album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, and in 2001 it earned platinum certification after shipping one million copies in the US. Illmatic has been recognized by writers and music critics as a landmark album in East Coast hip hop. Listen to Illmatic below.

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