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Tribeca Film Festival 2014: Documentary on Nas' 'Illmatic' Opens Festival at Beacon Theater

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A documentary focusing on Queens-born rapper Nas kicked off the Tribeca Film Festival Wednesday night. NY1's George Whipple filed the following report.

The 13th Tribeca Film Festival opened Wednesday night at the historic Beacon Theater on the Upper West Side. The documentary "Time Is Illmatic," about the making of Nas' "Illmatic" album 20 years ago, opened the festival.

Nas, the lyric rap genius, is the son of a jazz musician. He has a recommendation for all those up-and-comers.

"With music, we come and go, right? You know, you're here, you're hot one day. The next day, nobody remembers you. You're corny, right?" Nas said. "So I wanted to stick around for a while, and by trying to stick around for a while, you'd be surprised what happens. And that's my advice to a lot of young guys."

Multimedia artist One9 directed "Time Is Illmatic." Two decades later, "Illmatic" is as relevant now as it was when it was made.

"Well, we felt that this album resonates so purely is because he was doing it for his peers, his friends, the grittiness of hip hop," One9 said. "It wasn't meant to be a huge-selling, commercially-selling album. He didn't make radio tracks. He made it for the core essence of what hip hop was about."

Festival co-founder Robert De Niro was looking forward to seeing the flick.

Whipple: Are you a Nas fan?
De Niro: I'm going to find out when I go inside.

Nas may have come a long, long way, but he hasn't forgotten his roots.

Whipple: Queensbridge - what've you got to say to those guys?
Nas: I say "salute." Salute and thank you.

The festival runs through April 27.

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