time_is_illmatic_a_l (1)New documentary Time Is Illmatic celebrates Nas’ classic debut album and opens Tribeca Film Festival.

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Time Is Illmatic is a new feature length documentary that arrives to coincide with the much celebrated 20th anniversary of Nas’ 1994 debut album Illmatic, universally regarded as not only a launching pad for one of the most gifted and respected lyricists in history but also a timeless hip hop classic that promises to yield great influence for generations to come. The film is adeptly directed by mutli media visual artist One 9 and written by Erik Parker. A stunning visual journey that spends much of its first half serving as a gripping biography of Nas, Time Is Illmatic takes its audience on a narrative ride that paints a vivid picture of the construction of one of today’s most prolific artists. By telling the finer points of his personal story the film brilliantly depicts the life shaping experiences that lay the foundation for Nas’ complex, multi layered artistic expression.  Perhaps the film’s most significant achievement is that by the time it actually starts to tell the story of how Illmatic came to be the audience feels like it grew up in the Queens bridge Projects with Nas, his brother Jungle, his father world renown Blues musician Olu Dara and late mother Anne Jones, whom all enjoy compelling depiction in the film.

As a testament to its quality, Time Is Illmatic scored the coveted slot of opening night film for the 13th annual prestigious Tribeca Film Festival. Held at New York City’s historic Beacon Theatre, the event was complete with a concert performance of all the songs from Illmatic by Nas himself immediately following the screening. The festivities kicked off with TFF founders Robert DeNiro and Jane Rosenthal taking to the stage to make the introduction. The concert portion was initiated by an exalted solo piano and vocal performance by none other than Alicia Keys, a fitting tribute to a timeless classic album and excellent film that celebrates its relevance.


Much to the credit of the Tribeca Film Festival, Time Is Illmatic marks the first offering in festival history to make it to opening night that was developed and supported by its ancillary arm the Tribeca Film Institute. Filmmakers One 9 and Erik Parker applied for and received the Tribeca All Access grant in March of 2013 which allowed them access to producers, funders, editors and distributors. The collaborative efforts have paid off in dividends as Time Is Illmatic is a superbly executed work that is must see for not only hip hop fans but for anyone who loves great film.

Story by Nasser Metcalfe

Nasser Metcalfe is a respected actor, writer and producer who works and resides in New York City.