Listen: Nas’ unreleased song “I’m A Villain”


On April 15th, Nas will celebrate the 20th anniversary of his seminal debut album with Illmatic XX, a deluxe reissue featuring the newly remastered album as well as a second disc of rare remixes, unreleased demos, and freestyles. Already we’ve heard “It Ain’t Hard to Tell (Stink Mix)”, 1993 freestyle from “The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show”, and today the Queens MC unveils a previously unreleased single.

As KanyeToThe points out, “I’m A Villain” was recorded somewhere between 1991 and 1994, was produced by Large Professor, and is reportedly an early version of “N.Y. State of Mind”. Similar to the rest of Illmatic, the track pair’s Nas lyrical blitz over a straightforward mix of thudding drum machines and fuzzy soul-funk guitar. Of special note is Nas’ overall tone, providing a snapshot of brooding and intense young man still discovering his voice and role as acerbic social commentator. Listen in below (via Pigeons and Planes):


Nas also has other anniversary plans in the works, including a forthcoming world tour and a behind-the-scenes documentary, entitled Time Is Illmatic, debuting at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.

Illmatic XX Tracklist:

Disc 1: Remastered original album
01. The Genesis
02. N.Y. State Of Mind
03. Life’s A Bitch
04. The World Is Yours
05. Halftime
06. Memory Lane (Sittin’ In Da Park)
07. One Love
08. One Time 4 Your Mind
09. Represent
10. It Ain’t Hard To Tell

Disc 2: Demos, Remixes & Live Radio
01. I’m A Villain (previously unreleased)
02. The Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Show on WKCR October 28, 1993 (previously unreleased freestyle)
03. Halftime (Butcher Remix)
04. It Ain’t Hard To Tell (Remix) (promo single)
05. One Love (LG Main Mix)
06. Life’s A Bitch (Arsenal Mix) (promo single)
07. One Love (One L Main Mix)
08. The World Is Yours (Tip Mix)
09. It Ain’t Hard To Tell (The Stink Mix) (UK single)
10. It Ain’t Hard To Tell (The Laidback Remix) (UK single)