Following the anniversary of Nas' seminal "Illmatic", we decide to take a look at how all his other albums stack up against it. You can probably guess what makes No. 1, but where do some of his other efforts place?
Before Kendrick Lamar raised the bar with good kid, m.A.A.d city, Kanye West walked with Jesus, and the deadly East-West Coast rivalry, there was a young kid observing life and crime through his project window. That kid, who would initially start out as Kid Wave and then adopt the moniker Nas, gradually became molded and hardened by the effects of the crack era and Rudy Giuliani's New York, like the other thousands of youth from the same time period. With a future outside of the projects looking slim, Nas took up his childhood love of hip-hop and used world-weary intellect and a quick tongue to filter the hardships he experienced through a level of poetry that's never been seen before. A 20-year-old Nas dropped the seminal Illmatic in 1994. The second coming of Rakim had lived up to the hype, and it was still only the start of a legend.
It's debatable whether or not Nas was able to attain the level he reached on Illmatic ever again, but nevertheless the majority of his discography trumps that of his peers and many other lesser rappers. All at once, Nas' career came to represent hip-hop at its finest and its crippling contradictions. Fans have been listening to Nas leak wisdom for over 20 years, and he's respected enough for many to be willing to do so for 20 more.
From the misses to triumphs, we've ranked his albums from worst to best. See where they fall, and let us know how you would rank them in the comment section.