Time Is Illmatic is a feature length documentary film, told through the lens of rapper Nas and his bluesman father Olu Dara, which deconstructs Nas’ indelible rap album Illmatic and the socio-economic and cultural conditions that inspired it.
Time Is Illmatic traces Nas’s influences and the insurmountable odds he faced in creating the greatest work of music from hip-hop’s second golden era. The film tracks the musical legacy of the Jones family — handed down to Nas from his jazz musician father, Olu Dara, the support of his Queensbridge neighborhood crew, and the loyalty of his younger brother Jabari “Jungle” Fret. Twenty years after its release, Illmatic is widely recognized as a hip-hop benchmark that encapsulates the sociopolitical outlook, enduring spirit, and collective angst of a generation of young men searching for their voice in America. Time Is Illmatic is supported by The Ford Foundation’s Just Films and Tribeca Film Institute’s Tribeca All Access program. “I want to thank the Tribeca Film Festival for supporting the film with the incredible platform they’ve built over the years,” said Nas. “It’s an honor to premiere this film in my hometown. I also want to thank One9 and Erik Parker for their persistence and hard work. Those guys and I come from the same place and era, which gives the doc an authenticity that is important to me. We wanted this film to represent the real, from the storyline all the way down to the directors and producers.”