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Nas-Time Is Illmatic-Untapped Cities-Hip Hop-Queens-NYCNas: Time Is Illmatic (Photo via Facebook)

If you know anything about Hip-Hop you know what Illmatic represents. You know it was the first album to achieve the highest rating the The Source Magazine can award an album, 5 Mics. It birthed the career of Brooklyn rapper AZ, whose guest verse on the albums second song is considered one of the greatest debut verses of all time. Artists would claim that Illmatic inspired them to pursu music. 20 years ago, Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones forever changed the Hip-Hop world with just nine tracks.

Making a documentary on what many people have compared to Citizen Kane is a daunting task. How could a first time director truly make a documentary worthy of Illmatic’s legacy? The answer was something we were not prepared for. For us, watching Nas: Time Is Illmatic in Queensbridge, the country’s largest housing project and the inspiration for Nas’ first and still most championed work, we witnessed more than just a music  documentary. We witnessed a film about romance–a romance between a man and his culture, his family and his neighborhood.

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Old Times Square-Long Acre Square-Cobblestone-NYCTimes Square, then Long Acre Square in 1905

We’ve been doing a bit of research about Times Square these days, in a forthcoming book about the history of Broadway that we’re working on. The Library of Congress has as great repository of vintage photographs and we’d thought we’d share the striking evolution of Times Square from 1905 to today.

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Ryoji Ikeda-Test Pattern-Times Square-NYC-2014

Here’s what the Untapped staff is reading in the HQ today!

We love photos of urban streets and boulevards–the arteries of our cities. From the looks of it, so do our readers. Hashtag #UntappedCities on Instagram and Twitter if you would like to have one of your photos entered in the running for our weekly “Best Of”column. Also, you can keep an eye on what contributors and readers are checking out by browsing the live feed.

Busy Streets of 8th Ave & 42nd St by iron_fists_nyc

UntappedCities-InstagramRoundup-street-ironfist

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YMCA-Paris-Basketball Court-Rue Trevise-9th ArrondissementImage via Invisible Paris

The origins of basketball are undeniably in America, in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1891 where the game was invented at Springfield College. But the oldest known basketball court is actually located in Paris, according to Invisible Paris who recently took a visit during the annual Journées du PatrimoineThe court is located in the YMCA on 14 rue Trévise in the 9th arrondisement of Paris, in a building built in 1892 (the same year the first public basketball game was played).

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Toynbee-Untapped Cities-Anna Brown

With today’s technology, it seems like there is no mystery or question that can’t be answered, or person that can’t be found. But the Toynbee Tiles are one of urbanity’s unsolved mysteries. Scattered throughout nearly two dozen cities in the United States and in three South American countries, these linoleum messages in asphalt have confounded viewers for almost 30 years, after the first one appeared in Philadelphia. The tiles bear the following message:

 TOYNBEE IDEA

IN MOVIE 2001

   RESURRECT DEAD

  PLANET JUPITER

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