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It Was Written

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Editors’ Notes

Though the beats on It Was Written don’t match the eloquence or innovation of Illmatic, DJ Premier, The Trackmasters, and Dr. Dre all contribute to a musical backdrop that stays lean and sample-based, and largely avoids the pomposity that would mar Nas’ subsequent efforts. If Illmatic is a portrait of ghetto life told from the point-of-view of a preternaturally wise teenager, then It Was Written expands that portrait with mythological detail. Like his contemporaries Jay-Z, Raekwon, and Mobb Deep, Nas used crime films like Scarface as a blueprint to turn his portrait of project crime into something as stylish and forlorn as it is menacing.The lyrical precision and wordplay have become even more striking since Illmatic. In its description of a crooked cop and his trick, “Shootouts” chronicles a lifetime in a matter of lines: “A Irish man short slim with a tan, they say he laced her cheeba / She do be lookin weaker, now her teeth are foul / Speakin loud, peep her style, in and out of every reefer cloud.”

Customer Reviews

I forgot

I forgot to add on. If this album sounded just like Illmatic (production, lyrics, stories), then would Illmatic ever be considered great? If all of Nas' albums sounded the same as illmatic, which one would be the great one? We would not be respecting Illmatic if Nas' later albums sounded differently huh? Just like to Jay-Z, what if all the albums sounded just like Reasonable Doubt? So there we have it, music progresses and thats how legendary cd's come about. Technology improves music, that's why it sounds more commercialized but nonetheless, Nas is a great lyricsist.....put him on a 60's Elvis Presley beat or Lil' Jon beat, he'd still rock the mic.

Nasty Nas.

To me, this is Esco's best album. Though the lyrics and wordplay were supreme on Illmatic, It Was Written boasts his creative mind. Check out #11-Suspect and #6-Take It In Blood. "One of the most creative LP's ever to hit stores." ~ Nas


Albums like this have made me love hip hop music. Despite the negative trend and downhill tumble much of today's hip hop music has taken, I know that if I scroll to 'It Was Written' on my iPod I will get my daily hip hop fix. A real album for all real people who love real hip hop music.


Born: September 14, 1973 in Long Island, NY

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Beginning with his classic debut, Illmatic (1994), Nas stood tall for years as one of New York City's leading rap voices, outspokenly expressing a righteous, self-empowered swagger that endeared him to critics and hip-hop purists. Whether proclaiming himself "Nasty Nas" or "Nas Escobar" or "Nastradamus" or "God's Son," the self-appointed King of New York battled numerous adversaries for his position atop the epicenter of East Coast rap, none more challenging than Jay-Z, who vied with Nas for the...
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