LP released: Sep 27, 2019
(Item no longer available)

Side 1
1. Intro
2. The Message
3. Street Dreams
4. I Gave You Power
1. Watch Dem Niggas
2. Take It In Blood
3. The Set Up (Feat. Havoc)
1. Black Girl Lost (Feat. Jojo Hailey)
2. Suspect
3. Shootouts
4. Nas Is Coming
1. Affirmative Action (Feat. Az, Cormega, & Foxy Brown)
2. Live Nigga Rap (Feat. Mobb Deep)
3. If It Ruled The World (Imagine That)(Feat. Lauryn Hill)
4. Silent Murder
Cat No: GET51310LP
Barcode: 664425131017
Packaging: LP Regular

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.
It Was Written was not hard up for top-tier guests either, featuring
major guest turns from Lauryn Hill and Joel "JoJo" Hailey of
K-Ci & JoJo. It also introduced the world to The Firm, the brief
Nas-led supergroup featuring rappers AZ, Foxy Brown, and Cormega.
It even managed to cause some minor controversy in the hip-hop
community for its collaboration with West Coast producer Dr. Dre, at
a time when the East Coast/West Coast rap feud was reaching a fever
pitch, briefly attracting the ire of one Tupac Shakur.
Not only was It Was Written received warmly by critics, but became a
major commercial success, reaching the top of the Billboard 200
charts, reaching platinum sales status four times, and alongside
albums like Raekwon's Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, helped usher in the
era of mafioso rap in the mainstream. It rendered chart hits out of
singles like the Eurhythmics-mimicking "Street Dreams", and the
Grammy-nominated "If I Ruled The World (Imagine That)", and
proved to be a major influence on artists like Kendrick Lamar, Lupe
Fiasco, and many more.

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