Published on February 10th, 2014 | by Boman12l0
Illmatic XX Revealed: A Little lackluster Don’t You Think?
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Illmatic, arguably one of the greatest Hip-Hop albums of all time, Nas’ best album and his greatest curse. The big two zero means a lot of celebration and reflection for the masterpiece, it also means a re-release is in order. So last week Nas and Sony Legacy revealed the new anniversary edition of Illmatic and it’s a little disappointing.
OK before you people start losing your minds, let go over the basics. Revealed Feb 4 Illmatic XX will be released April 15th on Sony Legacy records. This new print will feature two discs. The first will contain the original Illmatic with remastered audio. The second bonus disc will feature rare remixes of select tracks, previously unreleased freestyles and demos. A Vinyl release was announced also but no details were revealed as to whether or not it would feature the bonus material.
While that might sound exciting, much of it was done before on the Illmatic 10th Anniversary. The album was re-mastered and re-issued with a bonus disc of new songs and remixes. While the remixes are not the same, this is a standard bare bones “easy” reissue. Making matters worse, it was just last year Get On Down records released their absolutely amazing Illmatic Deluxe Gold Edition boxset.
Over the last three years, Get on Down has made quite a name for itself with it often jaw dropping limited quantity reissues. From GZA to Souls of Mischief, their reissues are must own for Hip-Hop fans. For Illmatic, no shortcuts were taken to ensure they put out the definitive version of the album for Hip-Hop scholars, Historians and Collectors. The Deluxe Gold Edition contained:
– 24k Audiophile Gold Disc CD with re-mastered audio, housed in a “Cherrywood Trophy Box” with gold plaque
– Vinyl LP packaged with full lyric insert
– 48 page full-color, hard cover book including extended artwork, full album lyrics and liner notes from The Source founder Jon Shecter
– A reproduction of the original 1994 Illmatic press release
– Two 8” x10” glossy promo photos used in the Illmatic campaign
– Rare 1994 promotional poster with full album lyrics printed on the back
– Black 2-Piece outer box for the CD with original ‘Nas’ promo sticker.
Price at $49, it was affordable for even causal collectors. A limited print of 2,000 units, the boxset sold out within days of its availability. If you missed your chance to pick a copy, it hurt. Given the announcement of Sony’s new reissue, I don’t think Get on Down will able to print up more Deluxe Gold Editions even if they wanted too for the actual 20th anniversary. (Mainly because licensing and as to not uncut possible sells of Illmatic XX.)
Now when you compare Illmatic Deluxe Gold (still fresh in the minds of many) to Illmatic XX, you can understand how some might be underwhelmed by the latter’s reveal. So maybe the bonus martial on Illmatic XX isn’t extravagant as one might expect from a big 20th anniversary (these two digit reissues are normally the time when labels can start wilding out with huge box sets pushing price tags of $30 and up) it does not take about from Illmatic. It does give new listeners a chance to hear one of the greatest compositions in American music, which is always a good thing.