Song: "The Genesis" (1994)

Today, it's hard to imagine Nas' Illmatic beginning any other way than with the vintage New York grittiness of the "The Genesis" intro, which samples the true school flick Wild Style (1983). After a crazed night of bombing, Zoro (graf legend Lee Quinones) comes home only to be confronted by military older bro Hector (Carlos Morales). "And you're sitting at home doing this shit?" he barks at Zoro, not pleased with his kid brother's aerosol antics. "You should be out earning a medal for this. Stop fucking around and be a man." The disciplinarian Hector sees no future in spray painting walls. "There ain't nothing out here for you," he warns Z, who clearly sees things differently and responds by looking at his art sprayed on the bedroom wall and telling his fam, "Oh, yes there is...this!"

One wonders if a young Nasir Jones faced similar resistance from his elders when first making his MC ambitions known. Regardless, the Queensbridge upstart showed on "Genesis" that he was wise beyond his years (when the film's soundtrack cut "Subway Theme" by DJ Grand Wizard Theodore kicks in and draws protests of "Yo, what the fuck is this bullshit on the radio, son?," Nas calmly tells his dun, "Chill, chill, that's the shit, God."). Here was a new jack, bred on the original boom bap, who was paying homage to the past and at the same time sonning the youth about the culture's riches. A true street's disciple.