'Illmatic' is the debut record from New York rapper Nas. The legendary debut was recorded while Nas was just a teenager, and released when he was 20 years old. While first week sales fell below initial expectations, 'Illmatic' received huge critical acclaim at the time of it's release, being praised for Nas' incredible flow and lyricism over the masterful beats and production from incredible producers DJ Premier, Large Professor, and Q-Tip, to name a few.
The rhyme schemes and lyrical content from Nas on this record were truly ahead of their time. I would call this album the landmark hip hop record that influenced nearly any releasing following it. Even the cover is influential: think of all the similar album covers that have come out since.