It's the norm now, but at the time of Illmatic, most rap albums production was handled in house, Illmatic changed that. This was the first album that brought the BEST producers on the east coast and put them on one album. DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Large Professor, and Q-Tip formed a dream team and there's still room for an unknown producer, L.E.S. to shine bright. He would go on to become a frequest collaborator with NaS throughout the 90s and early 2000s.