You don't need to be that much of a hip-hop historian to realize how much different of a time it was in the game in the early-90s, but it's always interesting to see the perspective of someone who came up from that era—like Queensbridge's N.O.R.E. While promoting his new album, Student Of The Game, he dropped by DJ Drama's Shady 45 show on the 19th anniversary of Illmatic for a good ole reminiscing session.
Drama played through the N.O.R.E.'s hits like the original version of "L.A L.A." and "Oh No" before going back to a time in hip-hop when the conversation wasn't really, "Who is better Nas or Big?" N.O.R.E. recalled that when he was locked up, Brooklyn natives (specifically from East New York) would debate whether Nas or Buckshot from the Boot Camp Clik.
He also noted Illmatic's acclaim motivated Biggie when he was coming out with his debut: "The fact that Illmatic came out first, that made Big step it up even more. He had more time." Five months later we got Ready to Die, and 19 years later, the hip-hop heads are still grateful.
Check out the full interview, which includes N.O.R.E. talking about that time Guru (whose death also happens to fall on Illmatic's anniversary) visited Lefrak City, in the the above and below clips.
[via Soul Culture]