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TFF 2014 Review: Time Is Illmatic

By Maria Esteves – April 26, 2014

The 13th Tribeca Film Festival 2014 (TFF 2014) Opening Night Premiere Music Documentary of TIME IS ILLMATIC, directed by multimedia artist One9 commenced Wednesday, April 16, at the Beacon Theater, New York. Presented by AT&T, TFF celebrated the 20th anniversary of the hip-hop classic album Illmatic with the documentary debut and live performance of the entire album by recording artist Nas (Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones).

TIME IS ILLMATIC is a provocative music documentary about the life of a prophetic poet, American hip hop recording artist Nas. A native New Yorker of African American descent with a family history of Jazz musicians began as a rap singer in the Queensbridge Housing Projects at age fifteen. In 1994, Nas debut album Illmatic, revealing the philosophy of urban life, dedicating childhood friends Willie Graham (Ill Will) and many others became an iconic hip hop phenomenon selling over 1 million copies. Today, Harvard University and Hiphop Archive offers the Nasir Jones Fellowship in honor of Nas achievement.

Multimedia artist One9 directorial debut cleverly takes you on a musical journey exploring the life of Nas through his 20-year-old album compelling the audience with songs beginning with “N.Y. State Of Mind” and ending with “The World Is Yours.” In addition, One9 captures the socioeconomic issues of New York inner city life at the time. From the G.I. Bill in 1944 to public housing to the public school system to the 1980s-1990s crack epidemic and illegal drug related crimes, a $1 billion a year business. The film’s amazing archival footage includes interviews and testimonials with singer-songwriter Alicia Keys, rapper/producer Busta Ryhmes, philosopher Dr. Cornel Ronald West, Destiny Jones (Nas’s daughter), MC/producer Large Professor, producer/DJ Marley Marl, Jazz musician Olu Dara (Nas’s father), producer/DJ Premier, Illmatic executive producer MC Serch, and Hip hop pioneer Roxanne Shante.

TIME IS ILLMATIC, directed by One9 | ILLA Films | USA | 2014 | 73 min | 2014 Opening Night World Premiere: 13th Tribeca Film. Festival. For Festival Circuit Screenings, visit:

Director One9, TIME IS ILLMATIC, during TFF 2014
Premiere at AMC Loews Village, Friday, April 25, 2014.

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