samples

EP93: Art of Sampling #2 with Thes One on Nas's Illmatic (1994)

| 0 comments
Show: 
Heat Rocks
Guests: 
Thes One

The Album: Nas Illmatic (1994)

In our first episode from our four-part Art of Sampling series, we focused on one of the classic sources of samples from the mid-80s: the James Brown anthology, In the Jungle Groove. For #2, we wanted to turn our attention to an album whose use of samples helped influences sampling culture and for that, we went with a giant celebrating its 25th anniversary this year: Nas's debut album, Illmatic.

So much has been said about this LP over the years, we shouldn’t need to make a case for it but here’s the short version: it’s not simply considered one of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time but it’s universally lauded as one of the greatest debut albums in any genre, least of all given the intense hype around Nas leading up to it. Befitting that anticipation, Illmatic drew, really for the first time, a Dream Team-esque assemblage of some of New York’s finest producers including Q-Tip, DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Large Professor and L.E.S. Their production decisions, including the samples that powered their now iconic tracks, marked one peak in hip-hop’s golden era of sample-based production.

To help us break all this down, we invited one of Los Angeles’s finest: Thes One, half of People Under the Stairs (and composer of our theme song!) While Thes generally doesn’t like talking about other producers’ work, as a 16 year old hip-hop head hyped for Illmatic when it dropped in ’94, Thes brought his insights as both a producer and fan, and we touched on everything from the use of nostalgia in sample choices, how Nas’s flow worked with different beats, and why DJ Premier’s “bubba chip” drum programming was a game changer.

More on Thes One

More on Illmatic

Show Tracklisting (all songs from Illmatic unless indicated otherwise):

  • The Genesis
  • N.Y. State of Mind
  • Michael Jackson: Human Nature
  • It Ain't Hard to Tell
  • It Ain't Hard to Tell (Demo)
  • DJ Day: It Ain't Hard to Tell (Remix)
  • Large Professor: It Ain't Hard to Tell (Remix)
  • Common: Resurrection
  • Memory Lane (Sittin' in da Park)
  • Parliament: Come in Out of the Rain
  • One Love
  • One Time 4 Your Mind
  • The Gap Band: Yearning for Your Love
  • Life's a Bitch
  • A Tribe Called Quest: Lyrics to Go
  • Represent
  • Lee Erwin: Thief of Bagdad
  • Represent
  • Cameo: Hanging Downtown
  • Group Home: Supa Star
  • The Heath Brothers: Smilin' Billy Suite Pt. II
  • One Love
  • The World Is Yours
  • Ahmad Jamal: I Love Music
  • The World Is Yours
  • Monty Alexander: Love and Happiness
  • Apache: Gangsta Bitch
  • The Beatnuts: Let Off A Couple
  • Reuben Wilson: We're In Love
  • Memory Lane (Sittin' in da Park)
  • N.Y. State of Mind
  • Halftime
  • Milly and Silly: Gettin' Down for Xmas
  • Long Red: Mountain (Live)
  • Pete Rock and CL Smooth: Good Life
  • Represent
  • Jay-Z: Feelin' It
  • Main Source: Looking at the Front Door

Here is the Spotify playlist of as many songs as we can find there

If you're not already subscribed to Heat Rocks in Apple Podcasts, do it here!

Syndicate content