Last night the film opened up Robert DeNiro's annual Tribeca Film Festival in New York at the Beacon Theater in mid town Manhattan. The acclaimed actor, along with his business partner Jane Rosenthal, even introduced the movie to a packed, sold out audience. Although when asked later by the press if he had any favourite Nas songs, DeNiro had to admit he was not overly familiar with the rapper's catalogue. For me, this was a very minor bump. The fact that 'Time Is Illmatic' had the seal of approval from DeNiro and his colleagues enough to open this prestigious film festival was not wasted on Nas who went on stage to publicly thank Robert DeNiro, and then added " He plays me in the movies". This documentary has been a labour of love for ten years for its director One9, who goes on to explain his name. "I grew up as a street artist - one is the beginning; nine is the completion." Having very little money meant it was a long and arduous task getting his vision to the screen, even with no involvement from Nas himself, until towards the very end of the journey. However, even One9 did not envisage his debut as a director would culminate in such a high profile occasion.
After the screening at the Beacon Theater, the audience were treated to a very special celebration. Kicking off with an introduction by Alicia Key, Nas hit the stage and performed the entire 'Illmatic' album to a loud, enthusiast crowd who happily showed their love and appreciation throughout. Ms Keys accompanied Nas on 'N.Y. State Of Mind'. It is interesting to note that Nas intends to perform his classic first record several times during the year, in several spots, including right here in London. 'Time Is Illmatic' will be on general release in the US shortly, and hopefully not too long after in the UK and Europe.
Here are some choice Nas 'Illmatic' joints!
'It Ain't Hard To Tell':
'The World Is Yours':