NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC Documentary - Now On DemandOctober 13, 2014

NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC Documentary - Now On Demand


On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC (Tribeca Film).


See the latest Independent Movie On Demand (IMOD) Trailers here...


By Ric Whitney

Public Enemy front man and rap music luminary, Chuck D often described rap as “CNN for Black people.” As such, Nasir Jones’ (Nas) 1994 seminal debut album “Illmatic” was musical reporting at its best live from the Queens, New York projects where he grew up.

Writer Erik Parker and director One9 recount the period and person behind “Illmatic,” NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC in this endearing and special tribute to Nas’ classic album. Nas has been quoted that “New York City wrote “Illmatic.” This suggestion is bolstered by the glimpse this documentary offers into life in Queensbridge both in 1994 and 20 years later.

NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC does a wonderful job of focusing the story on what twenty year-old Nas saw, how he lived and who and what influenced his “NY State of Mind.” One9 beautifully frames Nas, his Queensbridge Projects home, and his family and friends, setting the stage for Parker’s largely positive, but exceedingly informative narrative surrounding “Illmatic.”
NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC distributed by Tribeca Film. Credit: Danny Clinch

Some of the inevitable struggles that first time recording artists face are diminished in the film. However, the manner in which the viewer meets and gets to know the key characters in Nasir’s life far offset this one-sided nature.

Whether learning the details of Nas’ best friend, Willy "Ill Will" Graham’s death and its effect on the young artist, or becoming acquainted with Nas’ father, Jazz legend Olu Jones, and realizing his influence on Nas musically and more; the quality documentary style of NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC showcases an interesting account of Nas’ creativity and character. 
NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC distributed by Tribeca Film. Credit: Nasir Jones


One of the great things about watching this documentary at home that you can pause the film and easily go listen to tracks from “Illmatic” on your smartphone, laptop or perhaps the original cassette tape. This experience offers immediate and greater contextual insight making the film a great companion piece to the album and vice versa.

Nas’ “Illmatic” was a classic album lauded for its visual lyricism. NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC does the artist and the album justice, providing cinematic sight to Illmatic’s rich sound.




- Ric Whitney

Ric “Ricky Media” Whitney is a seasoned content and digital distribution media executive. Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, Ricky has resided in Los Angeles, California since 2002 and is a passionate sports fan, lover of most music genres and is an avid news media and pop culture junkie.


1 Rapping the Vote With Chuck D, Jeff Chang, Mother Jones (Sept/Oct 2004)
2 Nas BBC Radio 1 Interview, Zane Lowe (April 2014)



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