Open main menu

Stillmatic is the fifth studio album by American rapper Nas, released on December 18, 2001 by Ill Will and Columbia Records. In contrast to his previous work's gangsta rap themes, the album contains socially conscious and philosophical themes similar to that of his 1994 debut Illmatic. Nas' lyrics address topics such as ghetto life, American politics, and his feud with rapper Jay-Z.

Studio album by
ReleasedDecember 18, 2001
Nas chronology
The Lost Tapes
Singles from Stillmatic
  1. "Rule"
    Released: October 6, 2001
  2. "Got Ur Self A..."
    Released: December 4, 2001
  3. "The Flyest"
    Released: December 16, 2001
  4. "One Mic"
    Released: April 16, 2002

Stillmatic was a commercial and critical success and helped re-establish Nas' career, following a period of critical disappointment with his previous album Nastradamus ( released in 1999).[1][2] It debuted at number 8 on the US Billboard 200 and sold over 342,600 in its first week of sales, eventually going on to sell over 2,026,000 copies in the United States.[3] Stillmatic received general acclaim from critics.



Though he had gained critical acclaim with his classic debut album Illmatic in 1994, Nas' image had been quickly deteriorating in the hip-hop community with his change of theme, from the philosophical topics of Illmatic to the gangsta rap and commercialized sound that became the focus of his later albums.[4] While his second album, It Was Written received positive reviews and introduced him to a greater audience, the follow-ups I Am... and Nastradamus were considered mediocre in comparison by critics.[4][5] The release of Stillmatic was an attempt by Nas to reestablish his credibility in the hip-hop community, with the title signifying his intentions to continue where Illmatic left off.

Feud with Jay-ZEdit

Jay-Z had previously dissed Nas in his single "Takeover", taken from his September 2001 release, The Blueprint."[4] On Stillmatic, Nas retaliated with the anticipated song, "Ether," a response to "Takeover" which insinuated that Jay-Z had stolen lyrics from The Notorious B.I.G. several times, that he had sold out, and that he was a misogynist, among other things. Several hip-hop aficionados believe Nas won the feud based on this track, which many felt was much more vicious and ruthless than "Takeover", although this is still a subject of debate within hip-hop circles. Jay-Z would respond with the radio freestyle "Supa Ugly." [6]


The first single from Stillmatic was "Rule" featuring R&B singer Amerie. It was not heavily promoted but still managed to reach number 67 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.[7] It did not receive a video and was issued on compact disc, so many are unaware that it was a single. "Got Ur Self A..." was believed to have been the first single from Stillmatic. "Got Ur Self A...", produced by Megahertz, contains a sample from the theme song on the HBO drama The Sopranos. The third single was "One Mic", which received acclaim for its content and video.


Commercial performanceEdit

Released on December 18, 2001, the album was certified Platinum by Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on January 16, 2002.[8] In July 2008, the album sold 2,026,000 copies in the United States.[3]

Critical responseEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [9]
The A.V. Clubfavorable[10]
Blender     [11]
Los Angeles Times    [12]
Rolling Stone     [5]
The Source     [15]
Stylus MagazineA−[16]
The Village Voicefavorable[6]

Stillmatic received general acclaim from music critics, who hailed it a "stunning comeback". At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 69, based on 12 reviews.[17] Despite finding its production "half-realised", Alex Needham of NME wrote that "lyrically, Nas is pretty much back on form".[13] Blender's Alex Pappademas described the album as "a surprising return to form" and stated "Even if it’s a fluke, Stillmatic still feels like a ren-Nas-sance".[11] Steve Jones of USA Today gave it three-and-a-half out of four stars and stated, "dis songs aside, Nas' strength has always been his incisive lyrical analyses of current events."[18] In his review for The Village Voice, Selwyn Seyfu Hinds wrote "Stillmatic isn't merely a reunion or rehash of Illmatic themes. The Nas on this record has grown, with the emotional expansion such maturation suggests. For one, he has never before drawn upon his anger, with a burning focus and controlled intensity that underscores nearly every song. Some of it can surely be ascribed to the Jay-Z battle, but more seems due to the deeper, internal struggle Nas has waged against the fallout from his early, precocious success".[6]

In contrast, Rolling Stone magazine gave it four out of five stars, and stated "Striving to maintain street cred while reaching for pop success has left Nas vacillating clumsily on past projects, this record has little to no inconsistencies. One moment he casts himself as a gritty cat who feels most at home on a project bench, calling out neighborhood snakes, and ducking gunshots. The next, he's delivering verses over the Trackmasters' rinky-dink rendition of Tears for Fears".[19] John Bush from Allmusic wrote "Dropping many of the mainstream hooks and featured performers in order to focus his rapping, Nas proves he's still a world-class rhymer, but he does sound out of touch in the process of defending his honor. Despite the many highlights, a few of the tracks just end up weighing him down".[9] Brett Berliner from Stylus Magazine remarked "Stillmatic features the best rhymes from Nas since his debut, and possibly the best rhymes of the year, rivaled maybe only by Ghostface Killah". He however was unfavorable of the album's guests, and some of its production, and went on to comment "Stillmatic was billed as a recreation of Illmatic, where the only rhyming guest was the underrated AZ. However, 5 other guest rappers appear on the album, including Nas’ crew, the Bravehearts, and the mundane Millennium Thug.

Stillmatic also achieved a fair amount of acclaim from within the hip hop community, who viewed it as a comeback album. The Source magazine gave it '5 mics', a rating they reserve only for classic hip-hop albums.[15] HipHopDx also gave it a maximum five rating, and wrote "Easily one of the best albums of the year, Stillmatic runs the gamut of street poetry to storytelling and bravado. This CD is filled with instant classics".[20] Although panning several of the album's songs, Steve Juon from RapReviews gave it a 9 out of 10 rating and concluded "While no album may ever top his debut's brilliance, this one comes close enough to make even his most passionate haters happy to hear the raw essence of hip-hop revealed in all its true glory".[21] Giving Stillmatic a three and-a-half out of five rating, Elizabeth Mendez Berry of Vibe was less favorable, calling it "infuriatingly inconsistent", but she went on to extol it as "an exercise in lyrical courage and musical might".[22]

In The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004), Rolling Stone journalist Chris Ryan gave the album three stars and called it "a return to form".[5] Ryan wrote that it "finds Nas sticking with what works, creative storyraps and trenchant social commentary. He still errs when he makes attempts at club tracks, but the album is largely a success."[5] In 2005, Chris Rock compiled a list of his Top 25 Hip-Hop Albums of all time, to which he ranked Stillmatic at number 20, commenting "It's like Mama Said Knock You Out eleven years earlier, where a guy just reclaimed his spot with some great records".[23]

Track listingEdit

1."Stillmatic (The Intro)"
Hangmen 32:11
2."Ether"Ron Browz4:37
3."Got Ur Self a Gun"
  • Jones
Nas, Precision3:47
5."You're da Man"Large Professor3:26
Large Professor2:13
7."One Mic"Nas, Chucky Thompson for The Hitmen4:28
8."2nd Childhood"
DJ Premier3:51
9."Destroy & Rebuild"
  • Jones
  • Lawrence Parker
Baby Paul, Mike Risko5:24
10."The Flyest" (featuring AZ)
11."Braveheart Party" (featuring Mary J. Blige and Bravehearts)Swizz Beatz3:43
12."Rule" (featuring Amerie)Trackmasters4:32
13."My Country" (featuring Millennium Thug)Lofey5:12
14."What Goes Around" (featuring Keon Bryce)
  • Jones
Salaam Remi4:59
  • "Got Ur Self a Gun" was later retitled "Got Ur Self A..." on the clean version of the album.
  • The track "Braveheart Party" was removed from later pressings of Stillmatic at Mary J. Blige's request.[24]
  • The Japanese release of Stillmatic features three additional tracks: "No Idea's Original," "Everybody's Crazy" and "Black Zombies." Each can also be found on The Lost Tapes, a compilation album that was released in 2002.
  • A limited edition version of Stillmatic contains a bonus disc with snippets from five songs on The Lost Tapes.


Credits for Stillmatic adapted from Allmusic.[25]



  1. ^ Ryan et. al Hoard (2004), p. 568.
  2. ^ Leroy, Dan. "Nas Reviews". Yahoo! Music. Yahoo!. Archived from the original on 2013-01-02. Retrieved 2012-06-15.
  3. ^ a b "More Than Words". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media) 120 (27): 33. Retrieved 2011-08-12.
  4. ^ a b c Birchmeier, Jason. Biography: Nas. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-11-21.
  5. ^ a b c d Rolling Stone (2004), p. 569.
  6. ^ a b c Hinds, Selwyn Seyfu. Review: Stillmatic. The Village Voice. Retrieved on 2009-11-21.
  7. ^ Billboard Singles: Stillmatic. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-11-22.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 26, 2007. Retrieved February 13, 2009.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ a b Bush, John. Review: Stillmatic. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-11-21.
  10. ^ Rabin, Nathan. Nas: Stillmatic. The A.V. Club. Dec. 18, 2001
  11. ^ a b Pappademas, Alex (February 2002). "Review: Stillmatic". Blender. Alpha Media Group (5): 114.
  12. ^ Baker, Soren. Review: Stillmatic[permanent dead link]. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2009-11-21.
  13. ^ a b Needham, Alex (January 11, 2002)."Review: Stillmatic". Archived from the original on October 2, 2002. Retrieved October 16, 2010.CS1 maint: Unfit url (link) . NME. Retrieved on 2010-10-16.
  14. ^ Hill, Marc L. Review: Stillmatic. PopMatters. Retrieved on 2009-11-21.
  15. ^ a b Kazeem (August 4, 2010). The Complete List Of 5 Mic Hip-Hop Classics. "The Source." Retrieved 2012-07-25.
  16. ^ Berliner, Brett. Review: Stillmatic. Stylus Magazine. Retrieved on 2009-11-21.
  17. ^ Stillmatic (2001): Reviews. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2010-10-16.
  18. ^ Jones, Steve. "Review: Stillmatic". USA Today: D.06. December 18, 2001.
  19. ^ McGuire, Kathryn. Review: Stillmatic. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on 2012-02-14.
  20. ^ Nas Stillmatic. December 24, 2001.
  21. ^ Juon, steve. Nas :: Stillmatic. December 18, 2001.
  22. ^ Berry, Elizabeth Mendez. "Review: Stillmatic". Vibe: 120. February 2002.
  23. ^ Chris Rock's Top 25
  24. ^ Reid, Shaheem. "Mary J. Blige Track On Nas' Stillmatic To Be Cut For 'Personal Reasons'". January 25, 2002. Retrieved August 11, 2008.
  25. ^ Credits: Stillmatic. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2009-11-22.
  26. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  27. ^ " – NAS – Stillmatic" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
  28. ^ " – NAS – Stillmatic". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
  29. ^ " – NAS – Stillmatic". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
  30. ^ "Oricon Top 50 Albums: {{{date}}}" (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
  31. ^
  32. ^ " – NAS – Stillmatic". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
  33. ^ a b "Nas Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
  34. ^ a b "Nas Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved November 12, 2013.


  • Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide: Completely Revised and Updated 4th Edition. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.

External linksEdit