Although the track was technically the second single on the album, it was the first single to be released after the album was pressed in 1994. The first single, “Halftime,” was released two years prior to Illmatic ‘ s debut.
“It Ain’t Hard to Tell” was produced by Large Professor, the song samples Michael Jackson’s 1983 hit single “Human Nature”, “N.T.” by Kool & the Gang, “Why Can’t People Be Colors Too?” by The Whatnauts, “Long Red” by Mountain & “Slow Dance” by Stanley Clarke. The single reached #91 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Nas created a homage to Wild Style (1982), the first Hip Hop motion picture, while shooting “It Ain’t Hard to Tell’s” music video, as he shot portions of the clip on the same stage used for the final scene of Wild Style. (Wikipedia)