Entertainment Music The 20 Best 'Illmatic' Lyrics Share PINTEREST Email Print Music Rap & Hip Hop Top Picks Basics Rock Music Pop Music Alternative Music Classical Music Country Music Folk Music Rhythm & Blues World Music Punk Music Heavy Metal Jazz Latin Music Oldies Learn More By Henry Adaso Henry Adaso has written about hip-hop since 2005 and founded the award-winning blog The Rap Up. He has written for "Vibe," MTV, Rap Rehab, and more. our editorial process Henry Adaso Updated August 13, 2018 'Illmatic,' the 1994 platinum-selling album by Nas, is the artist's best album and arguably the greatest rap album ever. Not only has it been critically acclaimed, but it reached #2 on the "Billboard" R&B/Hip-Hop chart and resided there for 28 weeks. It's even been given a 20th-anniversary edition as a reissue. As a work, the iconic album succeeds in part because it's packed with lyrics, not only about Nas' superior skills but also about life, crime, and vitamins. "Billboard" magazine calls it "a vivid, emotive look into life as a youngster in the streets of Queensbridge." Here are the best lyrics on 'Illmatic.' 20 of 20 'N.Y. State of Mind' WireImage / Getty Images Lyric: "Life is parallel to Hell but I must maintain and be prosperous, though we live dangerous." 19 of 20 'The World Is Yours' WireImage / Getty Images Lyric: “I'm the young city bandit, hold myself down singlehanded. For murder raps, I kick my thoughts alone, get remanded. Born alone, die alone, no crew to keep my crown or throne.” 18 of 20 "Halftime' Timothy Hiatt / Getty Images Lyric: "I rap in front of more ni--as than in the slave ships" 17 of 20 'Life's a B-tch' Ethan Miller/Getty Images) Lyric: “Time is illmatic, keep static like wool fabric. Pack a 4-matic to crack your whole cabbage” 16 of 20 'Memory Lane' Scott Dudelson / Getty Images Lyric: "My intellect prevails from a hanging cross with nails. I reinforce the frail, with lyrics that's real. Word to Christ, a disciple of streets, trifle on beats. I decipher prophecies through a mic and say peace." 15 of 20 'It Ain't Hard to Tell' Nas. Def Jam Lyric: "I drank Moet with Medusa, gave her shotguns in hell. From the spliff that I lift and inhale, it ain't hard to tell." 14 of 20 'One Love' Paras Griffin / Getty Images Lyric: "Sometimes I sit back with a Buddha sack. Mind’s in another world thinking how can we exist through the facts." 13 of 20 'One Love' Getty Images for BET / Getty Images Lyric: "Then I rose, wiping the blunt’s ash from my clothes. Then froze only to blow the herb smoke through my nose." 12 of 20 'N.Y. State of Mind' Jemal Countess/Getty Images Lyric: “I’m taking rappers to a new plateau, through rap slow. My rhymin' is a vitamin held without a capsule." 11 of 20 'Represent' Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images Lyric: “Nas is a rebel of the street corner, pulling a Tec out the dresser. Police got me under pressure.” 10 of 20 'N.Y. State of Mind' Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images) Lyric: "It drops deep as it does in my breath. I never sleep, cause sleep is the cousin of death. Beyond the walls of intelligence, life is defined. I think of crime when I'm in a New York state of mind." 09 of 20 'Represent' Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images) Lyric: "Straight up sh-t is real and any day could be your last in the jungle. Get murdered on the humble, guns'll blast, ni--as tumble." 08 of 20 'Represent' Getty Images for Jenn-Air / Getty Images Lyric: “Somehow the rap game reminds me of the crack game/Used to sport Bally's and Gazelle's with black frames/Now I'm into fat chains, sex and tecs/Fly new chicks and new kicks, Heine's and Beck's” 07 of 20 'Halftime' Andy Sheppard/Getty Images Lyric: ”You couldn’t catch me in the streets without a ton of reefer. That’s like Malcolm X catching the Jungle Fever.” 06 of 20 'One Love' WireImage / Getty Images Lyric: “So stay civilized, time flies. Though incarcerated your mind dies, I hate it when your moms cries. It kinda makes me want to murder, for real a/I even got a mask and gloves to bust slugs but one love” 05 of 20 'The World Is Yours' Scott Legato / Getty Images Lyric: "I'm out for Presidents to represent me." 04 of 20 'Memory Lane (Sittin' in da Park)' WireImage / Getty Images Lyric: "True in the game, as long as blood is blue in my veins. I pour my Heineken brew to my deceased crew on memory lane." 03 of 20 'Memory Lane (Sittin' in da Park)' Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images Lyric: “My window faces shootouts, drug overdoses. Live amongst no roses, only the drama, for real. A nickel-plate is my fate, my medicine is the ganja. Here’s my basis my razor embraces, many faces. Your telephone-blown, Black, stitches or fat shoelaces.” 02 of 20 'N.Y. State of Mind' Getty Images for iHeartRadio / Getty Images Lyric: "Inhale deep like the words of my breath. I never sleep, cause sleep is the cousin of death. I lay puzzle as I backtrack to earlier times. Nothing's equivalent, to the New York State of Mind." 01 of 20 'Life's a B-tch' Columbia Lyric: "I switched my motto—instead of saying f-ck tomorrow, that buck that bought a bottle could've struck the lotto"