While the 20th anniversary of Illmatic and the documentary it inspired have been on everyone's mind, Nas is spending more time thinking about the future than the past. He's back in the studio and working on a new record, but the new material has roots in the record that launched his career.
In a recent interview with NPR's Microphone Check, Nas opened up about his new record on-deck said the footage he was shown while Time Is Illmatic was underway turned out to be an unexpected muse. "To tell you the truth, I wasn't really inspired until we started to embark on this 20th anniversary. It wasn't 'til then that I really started to feel it," Nas said. "I gotta give credit to the documentary guys."
Timbaland, Swizz Beats and No I.D. are all involved in the project, and apparently, he's so stoked on the new material that he doesn't want to talk about it until it's finished. "I know once this [interview] comes out, people might ask me about the record and, man, I just want to finish it and get it done," Nas said.
"It took me a while to jumpstart [the record]," Nas admitted. "I started working with [Timbaland], I want to say a year and a half ago. I think it was the same year I dropped my last album, Life is Good. I started with Tim and it felt really powerful; it felt like it was really powerful. And I stepped back from it. Tim's like, 'What are you doing?' and I'm like, 'I just need a minute to like—I just need a minute to take it all in, just live a little and enjoy day-by-day stuff and daily stuff I'm doing.'"
But after seeing footage from Time Is Illmatic, the MC was ready to dive back into his 12th record. "I gotta give credit to the documentary guys. Them showing me the footage and... that's helped me find the inspiration. So I jumpstarted the album again... and now I'm at a place where I could play a song for somebody and they really get it and really feel it."