DJ Premier, who produced three songs on the album; N.Y. State Of Mind, Memory Lane (Sittin' in da Park) and Represent revealed, Nas recorded the first verse of ‘N.Y. State Of Mind' in one take in a 2009 interview with XXL.
According to Nas, his favorite studio recording sessions for Illmatic, were the ones with DJ Premier, Nas shared what it was like working with DJ Premiere in a 1994 Interview “DJ Premier was the type of producer that wanted to make sure the track was right. That was like my best sessions, with him, 'cause he was willing to try all types of sounds; get in the right techniques… Whatever it took. He listened to all my ideas, and I listened to his and it worked smooth. It was like me and him, we just didn't want to rush into nothing fast, he wanted to make sure it was right.”
4. The first song Nas recorded For Illmatic was “Halftime”.
The first solo song Nas ever released was the song “Halftime”. Nas put Halftime on Illmatic due to its mild success after he recorded it in support of the soundtrack to the 1992 romantic thriller Zebrahead.
3. Nas recorded “One Love” in Phife Dawg's basement
Nas recorded Illmatic‘s seventh song One Love in Phife Dawg's basement in New York. Rest in Peace to the legendary Phife Dawg. “We wound up over at Phife's crib, in the basement, and Tip's like, ‘If we work, we're gonna use this record,' and plays the record for ‘One Love.'” Large Professor revealed in an interview.
Nas‘ father Olu Dara played the trumpet solo at the end of Nas' 1994 Illmatic record, “Life's a Bitch” featuring. AZ. The record was Nas' first collaboration with his father and AZ's first ever recorded verse on wax. The song was produced by L.E.S.. Nas originally wanted to sample Mtume's “Juicy Fruit” but producer L.E.S. sampled The Gap Band's “Yearning For Your Love” instead.
The song's title was inspired by the famous phrase “The World Is Yours” used in Scarface. The music video has a recreation of Tony's room jacuzzi.
Bonus Fact: There are two different versions of “Represent.”
DJ Premier was inspired to revamp the original version of “Represent” after hearing some of the other beats on the album. “The one on the album is a remix, Once we got to me hearing “One Love” and “Life's A Bitch,” I was like, ‘Yo, I gotta update mine.” DJ Premiere revealed.
Another Bonus Fact. Illmatic was dedicated to one of Nas' Incarcerated friends.
Nas revealed he named his debut album Illmatic in dedication to a childhood friend convicted of homicide. “I dedicated Illmatic to my man Illmatic Ice doing time for a murder right now 'cause he was a strong man, And he made his own rules for the game and he ain't take nothing from nobody. And he was kind of like a strong path to follow and look at. Even though he got caught up, and mislead into the wrong situation and now he's caught in the system right now, I still dedicated the album to him.”