Illmatic is the debut album by the American rapper Nas, released on April 19, 1994 by Columbia Records. After signing with the label with the help of MC Serch, Nas recorded the album in 1992–1993 at Chung King Studios, D&D Recording, Battery Studios, and Unique Recording Studios in New York City. Its production was handled by Nas, Large Professor, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, L.E.S., and DJ Premier. Styled as a hardcore hip hop album, Illmatic features multi-syllabic internal rhymes and inner-city narratives based on Nas's experiences in Queensbridge, New York.
Since its initial reception, Illmatic has been recognized by writers and music critics as a landmark album in East Coast hip hop. Its influence on subsequent hip hop artists has been attributed to the album's production and Nas's lyricism. It also contributed to the revival of the New York City rap scene, introducing a number of stylistic trends to the region. The album remains one of the most widely celebrated albums in hip hop history, appearing on numerous best album lists by critics and publications.