Janet Jackson’s ‘Rhythm Nation 1814,’ Nas’ ‘Illmatic’ to be inducted into Library of Congress

The Librarian of Congress said the albums are 'worthy of preservation for all time'

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The seminal debut album from Nas, Illmatic, will be inducted into the National Recording Registry at The Library of Congress this year. 

The 1994 album has been called a “cultural reset” for its gritty and graphic descriptions of life in the rapper’s Queensbridge Housing Project. 

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 26: Nas onstage during the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on January 26, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

The Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden announced that 25 albums out of 1,000 submissions have been deemed “worthy of preservation for all time based on their cultural, historical or aesthetic importance in the nation’s recorded sound heritage.”

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“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 from the past 143 years,” Hayden said. “We received about 900 public nominations this year for recordings to add to the registry, and we welcome the public’s input as the Library of Congress and its partners preserve the diverse sounds of history and culture.”

Nas is joined by Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation 1814,” which was released in 1989. The multi-platinum concept album spawned eight singles and sold more than 12 million copies worldwide. 

GLASTONBURY, ENGLAND – JUNE 29: Janet Jackson performs on the Pyramid Stage on day four of Glastonbury Festival at Worthy Farm, Pilton on June 29, 2019 in Glastonbury, England. Glastonbury is the largest greenfield festival in the world, and is attended by around 175,000 people. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

“We wanted ‘Rhythm Nation’ to really communicate empowerment,” producer James “Jimmy Jam” Harris said of the album. “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.”

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Patti LaBelle’s “Lady Marmalade” will also be added this year, along with “Celebration,” by Kool & the Gang. 

“The Rainbow Connection,” by Kermit the Frog will also be added to The Library of Congress. In a statement, the iconic Muppet said, “Well, gee, it’s an amazing feeling to officially become part of our nation’s history,” Kermit said. “It’s a great honor. And I am thrilled — I am thrilled! — to be the first frog on the list!”

The Digital Media Association, a member of the National Recording Preservation Board has compiled a playlist of some of the iconic songs and albums added to the Library of Congress this year. You can find it here

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