Today, April 19th, Nas’ 1994 debut magnum-dopus Illmatic turns 19 (word to Paul Hardcastle). In the years since, we’ve seen musical homages to QB’s finest’s masterpiece like Elzhi’s excellent Elmatic. But even more common are the tributes to, and appropriations and parodies of Illmatic‘s iconic cover art (itself reputedly inspired by a Howard Hanger Trio LP). To commemorate the occasion, we’ve collected 19 of ‘em for your enjoyment. It’s like the (album cover) game ain’t the same…
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ABOVE: The other Lil Kim channeling QB on some “Quiet Storm” ish.
2. Charles. It's Charles Hamilton
The 2008 mixtape art from the Hedgehog obsessed Harlem-bred emcee.
3. Bie. biebmatic.
Leave it to Bieber fans to taint the sanctimony of Illmatic‘s art.
4. J Cole - Villematic
Original title of the pride of Fayetteville, NC’s 2010 Friday Night Lights mixtape.
5. 23. Air Jordan.
Tee shirt released by Brand Jordan. One of three different designs paying homage to classic rap album covers.
6. Trav Williams. illtravis.
Straight out the dungeons of Fort Lauderdale comes this 2009 Bandcamp joint.
Charlotte, North Carolina emcee’s LP release from 2012.
Erykah Badu - "Honey" music video.
2008 video co-directed by E.B. herself with Chris Robinson features her visage on several recreated LP covers, including Nas’ debut.
Back when New York Knicks fans were in a Jeremy State of Mind, this meme was golden, child.
illmodok, by Kenny Keil.
Check out Keil’s comic book rap LP cover remixes too.
Hip-hop is (walking) dead. Art by Tony PSD.
Stori. Just Another Day.
Female rapper from Newark, NJ favors a sing-song vocal style and Illmatic-inspired art to accompany her Latifah remake of last year.
Chen. Goldberg Variations.
Apparently, classical pianist Chen Pi-Hsien kills Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” so hard it’s worthy of an Illmatic fan art homage.
DJ Isbjerg mixtape from 2009.
“CnisterCee”‘s avatar from the Soulstrut message board.
Frankenstein. The Projects.
Monstrous single cover to the Toronto emcee/producer’s dedication to the PJs from 2000.
Homage 3: Illmatic.
The third installment in playwright Shaun Neblett’s 7 Homages for 7 MCs Play Cycle of 2011 was a tribute to Nas.
Kid Ice. Icematic.
No info found. Kid Ice – where ya at?
Our final reinterpretation of the classic, created in wonderful MS Paint. Take a look at some other MS Paint created fan art, why don’t cha?