Label: Ill Will, Columbia

A$AP Yams: “This is always my argument for people. I always argue this shit right here. I always prefer Stillmatic over Illmatic for one specific reason. I lived through Stillmatic. I lived through that era to actually appreciate it, as opposed to Illmatic, because I wasn’t able to feel the impact that it had, because I was in fucking kindergarten or 1st grade or some shit like that. I ain’t know what was going on.

Stillmatic, that was right after the fucking Towers fell, the whole shit, the city was divided. You were either a Jay fan or you was a Nas fan, and like that time was so crazy. And when he dropped this shit, like I remember, it was December 17th. I got that shit for Christmas, with the Sean Jean velour and all of that. I remember that like a motherfucker. That shit changed my whole—that album made me appreciate lyrics more. That was the album that made me go back. Like I got Stillmatic, I got to buy Illmatic now. Okay, I got to buy, you know, all the other classic albums.

“That was when I started listening to more conscious rappers like that, because I didn’t know nothing about that. A lot of people did drawback and start appreciate lyrics more for a like, a little short period of time that it was.. I definitely put Stillmatic over Illmatic any day. Oh, and that’s ‘Ether’ over ‘Takeover’ any day.

“The city made a decision, the fans put their vote into Hot 97. You can’t reverse a decision to fight five years later.

“He was smart too—he did it right before his album dropped.”