Fashawn is making a case that the most dangerous emcee is coming out of Fresno on his latest mixtape, Ode To Illmatic.
Illmatic remains one of the most celebrated records in hip hop. Released 16 years ago, young rappers to this day cite Nas' debut as the record that got them into rapping. Rightfully so, it only takes one listen to “N.Y. State of Mind” to get sucked into Illmatic. Just the mere mentioning of “rappers I monkey flip'em with the funky rhythm I be kickin'” and I will recite that entire verse – no beat needed. Ha, and I've never been a rapper.
Fashawn's Ode To Illmatic mixtape attempts to appropriate Nas' classic to the street stories of his Fresno-raised life. Thus, “N.Y. State of Mind” becomes “C.A. State of Mind” and the departed of “One Love” are no longer Queensbridge's most infamous. I remain on the fence about this decision to refashion a classic. Fashawn does not do a disservice to Illmatic. He's well-versed, creating a compatible homage, but follow up the Fashawn version with the Nas original and you'll get bored quick with re-workings and end up listening to Illmatic a couple times through. If Fashawn is comfortable with his ode further proving how untouchable of a debut Illmatic is, then he can consider this mixtape a success.
Download Ode To Illmatic here, courtesy of XXL magazine.