Just a few weeks after the Queensbridge rapper’s 13th studio album, King’s Disease, won him his first-ever Grammy, the Library of Congress on Wednesday announced his classic debut album, Illmatic, as part of the 25 recordings to be added to its National Recording Registry this year.
Released in 1994, Illmatic is widely regarded as one of the best rap albums of all time. The project, which set the rapper off into superstardom and cemented his place as one of the best MCs in the industry, was touted “for its rhythmic originality and complexity” following its release, the Library of Congress said in a statement, adding that “its technique has been widely copied since.”
“I’m very honored for the recognition and thankful for the Grammy award,” Nas told Billboard. Touching on the legacy of Illmatic, he said: “My first album was meant to be a true soundtrack for life in Queensbridge so the global recognition has always been amazing to see.”
Besides Illmatic, other notable recordings that were inducted into the registry include Janet Jackson’s iconic Rhythm Nation 1814, Louis Armstrong’s When the Saints Go Marching In, Labelle’s Lady Marmalade and Kool & the Gang’s Celebration.
“The National Recording Registry will preserve our history through these vibrant recordings of music and voices that have reflected our humanity and shaped our culture from the past 143 years,” Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden said in the statement. “We received about 900 public nominations this year for recordings to add to the registry, and we welcome the public’s input as the Library of Congress and its partners preserve the diverse sounds of history and culture.”
This year’s recordings add up to a total of 575 titles in the National Recording Registry.