Today marks the 25th anniversary of his sophomore album It Was Written. Did it live up its predecessor Illmatic? In terms of its mark on history, maybe not, but lets not forget that this album was Nas’ most successful commercial album.
Nas stayed true to his roots, rapping about the streets and the world around him, while integrating what came to be known as “mafioso rap” into the mix.
With the encouragement of his manger, Steve “The Commissioner” Stoute, Nas reached out to a team of producers including Trackmasters, Dr. Dre, Havoc, L.E.S., Live Squad, his close friend DJ Premiere, and MC Serch to give Nas the perfect canvas to spill his soul on a hardcore, yet mainstream album.
What we got were classics like "If I Ruled The World", “I Gave You Power,” “Affirmative Action” and others.
Besides the beats off this album showing up on freestyles around the globe daily, It Was Written will forever have a strong lasting legacy on hip-hop.
It propelled Nas from a young street poet to a mainstream hip-hop artist, gave him the ability and freedom to work on whatever, with whoever he wanted, and inspired the generation of young rappers to express themselves and hone their craft.
Listen to It Was Written down below.