The Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) today announced that the world premiere of the documentary Time is Illmatic, will open the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival. The film follows the trajectory of Nas’ 1994 landmark debut album, Illmatic– widely considered one of the most important and revolutionary albums in hip-hop. The premiere, taking place on Wednesday, April 16, will be followed by a special musical performance where Nas will perform the groundbreaking album from front to back. Time is Illmatic, is directed by multimedia artist, One9, written by Erik Parker, and produced by One9, Parker, and Anthony Saleh. The Tribeca Film Festival, presented by AT&T, will run through April 27th.
Time Is Illmatic traces Nas’s influences and the insurmountable odds he faced in creating the greatest work of music from hip-hop’s second golden era. The film tracks the musical legacy of the Jones family — handed down to Nas from his jazz musician father, Olu Dara, the support of his Queensbridge neighborhood crew, and the loyalty of his younger brother Jabari “Jungle” Fret. Twenty years after its release, Illmatic is widely recognized as a hip-hop benchmark that encapsulates the sociopolitical outlook, enduring spirit, and collective angst of a generation of young men searching for their voice in America. Time Is Illmatic is supported by The Ford Foundation’s Just Films and Tribeca Film Institute’s Tribeca All Access program.
“I want to thank the Tribeca Film Festival for supporting the film with the incredible platform they’ve built over the years,” said Nas. “It’s an honor to premiere this film in my hometown. I also want to thank One9 and Erik Parker for their persistence and hard work. Those guys and I come from the same place and era, which gives the doc an authenticity that is important to me. We wanted this film to represent the real, from the storyline all the way down to the directors and producers.”
“Like the Festival itself, Time is Illmatic and the groundbreaking body of work it recognizes has roots grounded in New York City, but represents and reaches communities far beyond,” said Jane Rosenthal, CEO and Co-founder of Tribeca Film Festival. “The film spotlights a musical journey with community and family at its core and we look forward to celebrating this pivotal moment in hip hop history as we open our 13th edition.”
“Throughout the journey, we see the metamorphosis of Nas as a young street poet, full of a rich musical legacy, transforming the pain and isolation of growing up in Queensbridge Houses into raw, honest lyrics, illuminating a spirit that inspired generations from the past, present, and the future. Experiencing the stories, passion, and energy of a modern day alchemist shaping lyrical dust to diamonds was truly an honor and we are extremely proud to premiere the film at Tribeca,” said One9. “I want to thank Nas, Jungle, Olu Dara, The Jones family, the Tribeca Film Institute, and Ford Foundation for allowing Erik Parker and me to create an authentic and unfiltered documentary film.”
Hip Hop luminary and multi-platinum artist, Nas, released his debut album Illmatic in 1994, and he has gone on to sell over 20 million albums worldwide. The legendary Queens rapper, son of jazz musician Olu Dara, is widely recognized as a visionary and lauded for a seminal body of work that spans a two-decade career. He has released nine solo albums and three compilations, and will release Illmatic XX, a special 20th anniversary edition of the landmark debut, on April 15 by SONY Legacy.
The 2014 Tribeca Film Festival will announce its feature film slate the first week of March.