Nas’ new documentary about his illustrious career brought a positive vibe to QB Park this weekend

Nas is a man of the people, so it’s only right the film telling the story about the creation and impact of the legendary MC’s magnum opus, Illmatic, is as much about him as it is the people of Queensbridge. The documentary, Time Is Illmatic, has been affecting change for the better in the community since its debut at last year’s TriBeCa Film Festival. The duo behind the film, writer Erik Parker and director One9, discussed the impact of their documentary in front of an enthusiastic crowd in Queensbridge Park on a humid Sunday evening in an event put on by SummerStage and Image Nation.

Although many succumb to the allure of fast money and the lifestyle of excess, as described in vivid detail on “One Love,” a jail cell and the destruction of relationships is only a hop, skip and jump away. One9 and Parker are combating that thought the screening of this documentary to foster discussions about the problems in our community that push young people down the wrong path and the end result of a life spent in the street. Pensive expressions could be seen on many of audience members faves when they saw Nas recount how all of the people features in the album artwork for “Illmatic” are all dead or in jail. That scene prompted a young man to quietly say, “I got to get my shit together and go back to school.”


That’s exactly what the film aims to do. Director One9 shared his hopes of the film changing the way we think and manifesting positivity for generations to come.

“This isn’t just a film, but a platform to open up dialogue and discussions. People don’t read as much as they used to , but they watch. We’re a visual people. Hopefully, this inspires the next Nas to use his talents for the better of those around him and not just himself,” One9 stated.

As One9 hopes to see more positive impact on the community from the project, producer Pete Rock already sees it due to the stairs of the film’s subject. “Kids are learning who Nas is behind the music as a man. It’s impacted our spirit in a huge way,” Rock opined.

Nas is a man who described the world outside his window in such detail you felt you could actually touch, taste and smell his specific hood, despite the stories being universally relatable. Considering Nas is self-educated, he is eternally appreciative his life and music can inspire. His life and music inspired the film’s associate producer Martha Diaz to launch the social program Illmatic Education, which is a curriculum based on topics discussed in the documentary. The documentary was shown in prisons to get inmates’ feedback on what else should be added.

Though the Grammy Award nominee was unavailable to attend the free screening in his hometown, he sent a text message to One9, which read in part, “Thank you for taking the time and creating an incredible piece of art that allows people to see my life and now my life can help make a change. Forever grateful.”

The community is grateful for you, Nas.

-Jonathan Hailey(@JaySpeakEasy_)