Ode To Illmatic by Fashawn

Ode To Illmatic, Fashawn 2010

Hip Hop is an art form that constantly looks to other genre, songs and eras to sample from.  Only in the mainstream media will you see the attitude that "the next big thing" only deserves attention.  So, I will be writing about music from now and then.

I don’t remember if I heard about this album first on Okayplayer or if I searched for Fashawn after I saw that he was performing at the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival this past summer.  Either way, I heard that Fashawn did an album that was a tribute to Nas. It automatically caught my attention. But then, I heard/read that the album was called Ode To Illmatic and I remember thinking that there is one really confident MC out there, because it takes some courage to do this.  Illmatic is an album that is easily considered one of the best hip hop albums. Illmatic raised the bar for mc’s and producers to aspire to. After I listened to Ode To Illmatic, I walked away impressed and happy that I gave the album a chance.

Fashawn decided to follow the Nas album, song for song and then add his twists, turns and bends to it by jumping on and off accuracy to the Nas album. At the end of the album, he threw in a remix, but only after he had paid full tribute.  It's a high quality album even if you have never the original Illmatic album.  I don’t want to minimize DJ Green Lantern's contribution though. He is a DJ that I have been hearing more and more about lately. So keep an ear out anything DJ Green Lantern touches.

It is hard for me to think that anyone has actually not listened to Illmatic from front to back. If you haven’t, you really should. It is hard to stay on topic with this album because right now, I am actually listening to Higher Learning (Fashawn) for the first time. It’s also a good album too! Back on topic, focus!


The production is true to the original Illmatic album by keeping the beats the same and cutting the music in and out when Fashawn tweaks the stories to his experiences in Fresno, California. He has a smooth style and he uses his lyrics to play hop scotch with the beat by switching from bang it home rhythms to off beat rhythms. It is that type of play that defines hip hop. So, he pays tribute to Illmatic/Nas by showing how much time, thought and skill into one of Nas’s entire album. It is a huge pay of respect that you don’t really see very often from young artists.

I don’t know how much more I have to say for you to start looking how you can get your hands on this album.  Listening to this album is like watching a car drive down the street and seeing it split into two complete and separate cars at an intersection. Fashawn uses the original stories to bring you down the path of reminiscing and brings you back to a new interpretation of the stories that you (may) already know. It is one of the best cover albums that I have heard. And on top all of that, the album features Talib Kweli on "Life Is A Bitch".


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Click Here to Download Ode To Illmatic

Click Here for Fashawn on MySpace