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10 Ways Nas' "Illmatic" Changed Hip-Hop

4. Set a New Benchmark for Production and set DJ Premier On an Epic Run

Pulling together every top hip-hop producer on the East Coast assured that Illmatic would define the sound of New York for the era. Nas inspired all of his producers-Pete Rock, Premier, Q-Tip, Large Professor, and LES-to create organic blues rap for the modern era. Illmatic's influence as a conceptual soundscape is still evident in records like Kendrick Lamar's good kid m.A.A.d. city.

More specifically, Illmatic established Premier as the go-to producer for the jazz-and-blues-inflected knock that became so central to East Coast sound. The Prairieview Texas native was primarily known as the DJ for Gangstarr until he crafted the tracks for "N.Y. State of Mind," "Memory Lane (Sittin' in da Park)," and "Represent." After that it became a rite of passage for a New York MC to spit on a Premier track. Jay-Z, Biggie, and Jeru all enlisted Primo for the debut albums. Even now, Joey Bada$$ continues the tradition.

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