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10 Ways Nas' "Illmatic" Changed Hip-Hop

6. Made Jay-Z Switch His Style Up

There is a pre-illmatic Jay-Z and a post-illmatic Jay-Z. The Brooklyn MC switched his style up from his fast-talking Jaz-O days enough to produce Reasonable Doubt, an album marked by Nas-like introspection as well as Premier production. Jay's poetic approach owed a clear debt to Illmatic, although Jay shifted to more lucrative flows by his next album. His samples ("Dead Presidents" samples the "World Is Yours") and name drops (in "Where I'm From" Jay poses the question "Who's the best MC Biggie, Jay-z, or Nas?") telegraphed Nas' influence on Jay, as Nas would point out during their epic battle a few years later.

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