New York City, 1993
Photo Chi Modu
This is his bedroom at the Queensbridge houses.
Note the stuffed animal and the bullet hole above his head.
Can’t believe Illmatic was two decades ago
Wax Poetics has the interview
Illmatic is generally credited with changing the whole East Coast rap scene and introducing the mafioso style into hip-hop. Where did that come from?
That was lifestyle, you know? It was me and my boy who passed away, and another boy of mine who’s locked up, realizing that it was our turn to take the block, and we had to watch the movie Scarface. We turned off the lights and went to my boy’s apartment in the projects and watched it and came outside with a different understanding. This is before the records; this is when we was kids.
How old were you?
Fifteen, sixteen. That’s just lifestyle. You can’t fake that. You can’t even label it. What happened was the whole rap game started to become obsessed with it, and even I got lost in it. But it was super fun, and it was just something that we all had to grow out of.
What was it about that movie that rang true to you?
It wasn’t just that movie. It was what I was seeing outside and what I was hearing. So the movie on top of that just gave us another perspective on it. It gave us the cars, it gave us the taking-no-shit kind of vibe. It showed us how far it could go to be the man, from a fantasy point of view.
He’s still got it