When Illmatic, Nas’ seminal 1994 debut, was reissued in April for the album’s 20th anniversary, hip-hop fans were treated to countless retrospective reviews, a documentary on the film, a performance by the 40-piece National Symphony Orchestra and extensive interviews with the rapper himself. There was seemingly little left for fans to want and little left for Nas to give.
500 Greatest Albums of All Time: Nas’ Illmatic
That was until Mass Appeal — the multimedia website, quarterly publication and record label in which Nas has invested — created a contest that would allow one Nas fan to put their stamp on Illmatic. The contest was simple: entrants pitched a music video concept for Illmatic song “Represent” to Nas and Mass Appeal video director Jason Goldwatch via YouTube. The winner of their choosing would then fly to Los Angeles to create the clip, which had never received a proper video, alongside them at YouTube Space L.A.