The final third is a crush of genius, with several Nas tracks (including his lovely, Michael Jackson-sampling “It Ain’t Hard to Tell”) receiving the kind of detailed breakdowns rare in pop-artist conversations.
While the trivia value may feel tremendous, only One9's interviews with Nas, his father, Olu Dara, and his brother, Jungle, manage to make the doc legitimately moving--a history lesson in popular culture.
This brisk, stylish and extremely heartfelt portrait of Nas’ rise from the housing projects of Queensbridge to the heights of hip-hop royalty ably stands on its own, marked by an admirable focus on the man and his music rather than hype and hagiography.
Nathan RabinThe Dissolve
Time Is Illmatic is a documentary worthy of its subject. It’s no masterpiece, but it’s a strong, substantive look at an album whose greatness was apparent immediately, but that’s still grown in stature since its release.
Time Is Illmatic is comprehensive, even wisely holistic, but still feels as though something is missing; it’s as if in trying to cover the history, the music, the ecosystem, the upbringing and the man itself, each cancels out the other out, leaving only a surface exploration.