It Was Written

Double LP

Illmatic, the 1994 studio debut of Nasir "Nas" Jones, was more than just a critical success for the Queensbridge-based rapper. At a time when East Coast hip-hop was increasingly being taken less seriously than their West Coast counterparts, Illmatic's raw jazz and soul- based production, dire atmosphere and lyrics, coupled with Nas' uncompromising flow was integral in restoring interest in the East Coast as a hotbed of hip-hop artistry. Along with key releases from Wu-Tang Clan and Notorious B.I.G.,it shifted attention away from the funky, dayglo synth-based G-funk coming out of California and back to the grimy streets of New York. After such an unprecedented debut record, expectations were understandably high for Nas' follow-up. What came next threw critics and fans for a loop, but was no less influential than Illmatic, and would become the most commercially successful album in the entirety of Nas' discography. The 1996 sophomore follow-up was titled It Was Written, and in contrast to the urban bleakness of his debut, had Nas dipping his toes into the world of mafioso rap. Amidst production from heavy hitters like Trackmasters, Dr. Dre, L.E.S., Havoc of Mobb Deep, and Illmatic- collaborator DJ Premier, among others, Nas weaves evocative narratives of gang warfare, downtrodden neighborhoods, drug deals gone awry, and gangsta triumph, against a backdrop of samples from Sam Cooke, Etta James, the Isley Brothers, and even Chuck Mangione.

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Nas It Was Written
  • 1.Album Intro
  • 2.The Message
  • 3.Street Dreams
  • 4.I Gave You Power
  • 5.Watch Dem Niggas (featuring Foxy Brown)
  • 6.Take It in Blood
  • 7.Nas Is Coming (featuring Dr. Dre)
  • 8.Affirmative Action (featuring The Firm)
  • 9.The Set Up (featuring Havoc)
  • 10.Black Girl Lost (featuring Joel JoJo Hailey)
  • 11.Suspect
  • 12.Shootouts
  • 13.Live Nigga Rap (featuring Mobb Deep)
  • 14.If I Ruled the World (Imagine That) (featuring Lauryn Hill)

Cat no: GET51310LP
Label: Get On Down
Info correct on: 10/9/2019