A documentary about rapper Nas' groundbreaking debut Illmatic has been selected to open the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, almost exactly 20 years to the day of the album's original release.

Time Is Illmatic will receive its world premiere at Robert De Niro's annual New York event on 16 April (14) and Nas will celebrate the big night by performing the album in its entirety after the screening.

The Queens native says, "I want to thank the Tribeca Film Festival for supporting the film with the incredible platform they've built over the years. It's an honour to premiere this film in my hometown.

"I also want to thank (director) One9 and (screenwriter) Erik Parker for their persistence and hard work. Those guys and I come from the same place and era, which gives the doc an authenticity that is important to me. We wanted this film to represent the real, from the storyline all the way down to the directors and producers."

The Tribeca Film Festival will run from 16 to 27 April (14).