An interview with Queensbridge MC Tragedy Khadafi aka The Intelligent Hoodlum where he reveals the origins of the term "Illmatic" has resurfaced on social media.
In the clip from WatchLOUD's YouTube channel, Tragedy speaks about the term that has become "a cornerstone in Nas' career." Tragedy explained that he first used the term on Marley Marl's In Control Volume 1 compilation album.
"The first time that I used the word Illmatic in a rhyme was a song called 'The Rebel ' on volume 1 of Marley Marl's In Control," he explained. "I was in some trouble, I was about 14 or 15 and I went to Marley's studio on Astoria Blvd. The studio was a little walk from Queensbridge and I was dipping in and out of buildings because I was on the run."
Tragedy then explained that no matter what he was going through his need to make music took priority. "I had to go make this song, for me whatever is going on in life, I have to do music," he explained. "I recorded the song, but ended up getting snatched up a while later and that's when the album [Nas' Illmatic] came out."
Honestly, what I really wanted from son, he gave to me already. He was asked who his influences were, and he named me as one of his influences. That's all I really wanted — don't let me go in vain.
When asked if he feels that Nas' use of the term made him feel a certain way about Nas, Tragedy said that it did at one time.
"Initially I did feel a certain way, but it wasn't the usage of the word. To be authentic, I actually got it from an OG named Illmatic Ice. It's not that I said 'Im gonna make this word up.' I was in the streets so much that I said forget ill, I get illmatical. I took it and made it into a rhyme. When certain terms came out Hip-Hop was able to magnify those terms because a particular artist had a voice to do it."
Tragedy says that at one point they felt a certain about each other. "I ain't gonna front at one time I felt a way about him, and he felt a way about me too, that's life. We grown men now, I definitely don't feel that way now. Honestly, what I really wanted from son, he gave to me already. He was asked who his influences were, and he named me as one of his influences. That's all I really wanted — don't let me go in vain. Nas is my favorite MC. I love Jay, I love Nas and I love Jada. I love lyricism, and Nas is one of my favorites."
Check the clip above.