Nas and Janet Jackson’s Albums to be Inducted into the National Recording Registry


Nas’s debut album Illmatic and Janet Jackson‘s empowering Rhythm Nation 1814 are among the 25 records to be preserved by the National Recording Registry.

The Library of Congress announced the news Wednesday, referring to the records as “audio treasures worthy of preservation for all time based on their cultural, historical or aesthetic importance in the nation’s recorded sound heritage.”

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden explained that they received around 900 public nominations this year.

“The National Recording Registry will preserve our history through these vibrant recordings of music and voices that have reflected our humanity and shaped our culture,” Hayden says in a statement.

Rapper Nas’s iconic debut album Illmatic has been referred to as “one of the greatest hip-hop records of all time,” according to Hypebeat. The 10-track-album featured songs produced by Q-Tip, Large Professor, Pete Rick, L.E.S, Dj Premier, and Nas himself.

“Characterized by the masterful use of multi-syllabic and internal rhyme, surprising line breaks and rhythmic complexity,” the Library of Congress writes. “The album’s technique has been widely copied and proved broadly influential.”

Janet Jackson’s socially conscious Rhythm Nation 1814 is an emblem of empowerment. Resisting her label’s wishes, Jackson’s album explores social issues such as race, homelessness, and school violence. Producers James “Jimmy Jam” Harris and Terry Lewis wrote and produced the album with Jackson. The duo used samples of street sounds (breaking glass, trash can lids, etc..) as interludes to help create the album’s feel.

“We wanted the ‘Rhythm Nation’ to really communicate empowerment,” Harris says. “It was making an observation, but it was also a call to action. Janet’s purpose was to lead people and do it through music, which I think is the ultimate uniter of people.”

The full list of records that will be inducted into the National Recording Registry are listed below.

Edison’s “St. Louis tinfoil” recording (1878)
“Nikolina” — Hjalmar Peterson (1917) (single)
“Smyrneikos Balos” — Marika Papagika (1928) (single)
“When the Saints Go Marching In” — Louis Armstrong & his Orchestra (1938) (single)
Christmas Eve Broadcast–Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill (December 24, 1941)
“The Guiding Light” — Nov. 22, 1945
Odetta Sings Ballads and Blues — Odetta (1957) (album)
“Lord, Keep Me Day by Day” — Albertina Walker and the Caravans (1959) (single)
Roger Maris hits his 61st homerun (October 1, 1961)
Aida — Leontyne Price, (1962) (album)
“Once a Day” — Connie Smith (1964) (single)
Born Under a Bad Sign — Albert King (1967) (album)
Free to Be…You & Me — Marlo Thomas and Friends (1972) (album)
The Harder They Come — Jimmy Cliff (1972) (album)
“Lady Marmalade” — Labelle (1974) (single)
Late for the Sky — Jackson Browne (1974) (album)
Bright Size Life — Pat Metheny (1976) (album)
“The Rainbow Connection” — Kermit the Frog (1979) (single)
“Celebration” — Kool & the Gang (1980) (single)
Richard Strauss: Four Last Songs — Jessye Norman (1983) (album)
Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 — Janet Jackson (1989) (album)
Partners — Flaco Jiménez (1992) (album)
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow”/”What A Wonderful World” — Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (1993) (single)
Illmatic — Nas (1994) (album)
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