When Old School Was New: Nas’ ‘It Ain’t Hard To Tell’

From NPR:

Since the heyday of hip-hop, one man has been broadcasting the music videos, the culture and the people in the community all throughout New York City. His name is Ralph McDaniels, and his show, which has aired on public television since 1984, is called Video Music Box.

McDaniels knows everybody. He and his company, Classic Concepts Video Productions, made music videos for musicians like the Notorious B.I.G., Public Enemy and Wu-Tang. Legendary music video director Hype Williams got his start at Classic Concepts.

The man widely known as Uncle Ralph has stories we want to share, so occasionally on The Record he’ll pick a classic video and take us behind the scenes. Today we go back to 1994, just before the release of Nas’ ground-breaking, career-making debut album, Illmatic. The second single from it was “It Ain’t Hard To Tell”.

Illmatic is now considered a classic — a masterwork of story-telling, lyricism and beat-making. By the time it was released, in April of 1994, word of Nas’ skills had spread all over the music industry. “It was such an anticipated album, and he delivered,” says McDaniels. “It was like Derek Jeter — ‘I know he’s gonna get the hit’ — and he hit it out the park with that album.”

Continue reading the rest of the story on NPR