Nas is my favorite rapper alive and one of the best to ever do it. Illmatic is viewed as one of the greatest hip hop albums of all-time. Two years later, Nas returned with his second album with high expectations. 25 years ago It Was Written dropped and it was every bit as good as his debut. It Was Written debuted at the top of the charts and it went on to sell over 3 million copies. It Was Written remained his best-selling album and one of my personal favorites. While Illmatic didn’t have any major features, this one packed some dopes ones. Lauryn Hill, Dr. Dre, Mobb Deep, The Firm and JoJo from Jodeci all made appearances. There are many that believe It Was Written is the best Nas album. For me, it is one of my personal top-5 joints from Nas.
If I Could Rule the World featuring Lauryn Hill was the first single. The track debuted a few weeks before the album was released. If I Could Rule the World was well-received as it put two of the greats together on one track. The second single released by Nas was called Street Dreams. Street Dreams was another dope track off the album and it actually went gold. Nas went on to release a remix with R. Kelly which is really good also. Nas wrapped up the album by dropping The Message as the third single in early 1997. I’ve mentioned before, this is probably my favorite Nas album as it’s a tossup with Illmatic. Lupe Fiasco and many others have given props to this album as being an inspiration. The Message, Affirmative Action, Black Girl Lost, Street Dreams and If I Ruled the World are my top 5 joints.
Honestly, those top 5 can change depending on how I’m feeling that day. It’s hard to believe that It Was Written is now 25 years old. Check out the videos for his singles up above. As always, check out the track listing and stream links below.
- Album Intro
- The Message
- Street Dreams
- I Gave You Power
- Watch Dem Niggas ft. Foxy Brown
- Take It In Blood
- Nas is Coming ft. Dr. Dre
- Affirmative Action ft. AZ, Cormega and Foxy Brown
- The Set Up ft. Havoc
- Black Girl Lost ft. JoJo from Jodeci
- Live Nigga Rap ft. Mobb Deep
- If I Ruled the World (Imagine That) ft. Lauryn Hill