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On the same day in 2001 that Jay Z released his Unplugged album following his sessions with The Roots up at MTV, his then-rival Nas released his fifth studio album, Stillmatic. The two emcees were in the midst of one of the biggest feuds in the history of the hip-hop game, and that was clear in how raw Nas’ lyrical intensity got throughout this album. 2 years had passed since the release of Mr. Jones’ previous album Nastradamus (which also happened to be a disappointment to many critics and fans), and throughout that hiatus many  New York listeners shifted their ears to his rising competition. Stillmatic came as a message to New York, and to everybody that Nas was still claiming the crown on top of his head.

The project was released on Columbia Records and debuted at #8 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 342,600 albums in its first week. Stillmatic was certified platinum by January that very next year, only one month later. It has since been certified double platinum, having sold over 2 million copies by 2008. Nas received rave reviews by critics from Rolling Stone and The Source, who gave this album 5 Mics.

When DJ Khaled named his son Asahd Executive Producer on his latest album Grateful, fans both laughed and gave praise at the seemingly ingenious idea. What many weren’t aware of is that Nas did the same exact thing 15 years prior, naming his then 7-year-old daughter Destiny as the Executive Producer on Stillmatic. Though she may not have actually helped with the core production on the album itself, Nas did this so that his daughter would receive royalties on the album for years and years to come–a pretty smart move on his part.

Happy anniversary to an important piece of hip-hop history.

Hip-Hop History: 16 Years Ago Today, Nas Released ‘Stillmatic’  was originally published on