Introduction to Visual Culture: Contextualising Practice
Present a detailed, critical analysis of a cultural text.
The text I have chosen to analyse is Illmatic – Nas. It is a renowned hip hop album as it encompasses everything great about hip hop that makes the genre worthy of its place in music history. “Stylistically, if every other hip hop record were destroyed, the entire genre could be reconstructed from this one album”. (Prefix Magazine, accessed 27/04/13) It is made apparent that the subject matter of the album is focused on Nas’s surroundings; this includes the environment, the people that live there and the lifestyle. I will be commenting on how the design, layout of the cover and internal booklet reflects the life and environment of Queensbridge. The reason why I have chosen this hip hop album over others is that subject matter and influences have not been ‘regurgitated’ from existing artists of the genre. Nas took no inspiration from other rap artists; he was only influenced from his surroundings and his experiences within Queensbridge.
The inspiration for this album is based on Nas’s perspective of Queensbridge unlike most of today’s hip hop which is influenced by existing hip hop. Nas depicts the darker side of urbanity, explaining the troubling lives of inner city teenagers, his nostalgic views of his environment’s history and where the theme of each song changes from moments of pain and pleasure to frustration, this all comes from Nas’s own experiences in his hometown.
Queensbridge is a housing project. In the time of Nas’s upbringing it was run down, and people were in a never ending struggle. The lifestyle of the people from Queensbridge is heavily influenced by the environment that they live in, therefore people have not a lot to do, this results in to drug abuse and dealing, violence and robbery. It is very evident that the people of Queensbridge live in the forces of poverty and neglect as it is shown on the booklet that there...