Nas On 'Illmatic's 20th Anniversary; Radiolab Looks At Hip Hop, Race And Tastemakers

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Nas' seminal 1994 debut, Illmatic, is being reissued to commemorate its 20th anniversary.

In this episode: You can call him an entrepreneur, a mogul and an actor. But Nasir Jones -- the hugely successful and influential rap emcee Nas -- is best known as one of the greatest musical voices to emerge from New York City. In a conversation with Soundcheck host John Schaefer, Nas reflects on his 1994 debut album Illmatic -- which now being reissued to commemorate its 20th anniversary -- and a documentary film.

Then: Soundcheck presents a new Radiolab podcast segment called “Straight Outta Chevy Chase,” about Peter Rosenberg of the New York hip hop station Hot 97. Raised in suburban Maryland, Rosenberg hustled his way into an on-air position at the country’s most powerful tastemaker in rap, R&B and more. Now, he’s something of an arbiter of authenticity in the genre, so-called “real hip hop.”