Every once in a while, maybe only once in a generation, a film, album or videogame emerges that redefines a medium.
In 1994, Nas released what is still considered to be the greatest Hip-hop LP of all-time. ‘Illmatic’ was a project formulated by some of the genre’s greatest producers and a young, hungry MC who could project a vision of his environment and surroundings through his descriptive lyrics.
The production credits were a ‘who’s who’ of the best of the best; each instrumental was handcrafted by a legendary beatsmith. DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, Large Professor and L.E.S forged some of the finest beats that will forever cast Illmatic as the quintessential Hip-hop album.
A year later in 1995, Squaresoft released a title that is often considered to be the finest example in it’s genre. Like Illmatic, ‘Chrono Trigger’ was a collaboration between giants within their field: Final Fantasy creator, Hironobo Sakaguchi, legendary Dragon Ball artist, Akira Toriyama, Dragon Quest creator, Yuji Horii and famed Final Fantasy composer, Nobuo Uematsu, who’s contribution came after the original composer, Yasunori Mitsuda fell ill. Chrono Trigger was the brainchild of a group of individuals who had been responsible for defining the genre; both Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy were established series, each with multiple releases across Nintendo platforms. Chrono Trigger managed to, some how, capture the magic of both, introducing a beloved cast of characters, a complex time travel inspired story (that required multiple play throughs to piece together the complete narrative) and an OST that is still celebrated to this day.
Both Illmatic and Chrono Trigger are yet to be surpassed by their creators, by their contempories or by those who came after. Two seminal, ‘lightning in a bottle releases’, with a commonality that isn’t immediately obvious.