Various Artists

The Illmatic Collection

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The scholarly sample fiends at Strictly Breaks were enterprising enough to realize that a market could exist for compilations featuring tracks sampled by one particular artist. Taking the concept of the format pioneered by Ultimate Breaks and Beats one step further, the vinyl-based Illmatic Collection assembles tracks that have been put to use by Nas' producers throughout the years. (Strictly Breaks have also done the same for A Tribe Called Quest, Jay-Z, the Beatnuts, De La Soul, and Pete Rock.) Most selections are provided in full, while several are frustratingly reduced to a few brief (if entirely relevant) bars. The Illmatic Collection, originally released in 2002, contains Sixto Rodriguez's "Sugar Man" (as heard in "You're da Man"), Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight" ("One Mic"), Bob James' "The Sponge" ("Watch Dem Niggas"), Chris Stein's "Subway Theme" ("The Genesis"), Linda Clifford's "Never Gonna Stop" ("Street Dreams"), Soul Children's "Move Over" ("On the Real"), and Peabo Bryson's "Born to Love" ("2nd Childhood"). Buyer beware: the sound quality varies from track to track.