Nas. What can I say about this bonafide legend? The man may be the most lyrically gifted rapper to ever pick up a mic. Now I’m not here to debate top 5’s but if Nas isn’t in it, I’m not hearin’ it.
Today marks the 20th 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; and hey, we all gotta eat. 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 “I Gave You Power,” “Affirmative Action,” “If I Ruled The World,” 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. Among those young rappers was the one and only Lupe Fiasco who had this to say about It Was Written:
“…at the time in my life-like, I fell in love with ‘It Was Written’ when I was seventeen, eighteen-a very impressionable time-so I was like I love that album. That’s my favorite Hip Hop album, so it’s like why not base your album on ‘It Was Written’?”
Nas has been rapping now for over two decades, and he’s doesn’t show any indication of stopping any time soon. I had the pleasure of seeing him perform Illmatic straight through in Denver a couple years back and it remains one of the most talented, genuine performances I’ve ever witnessed. I thank God for Nas and his longevity everyday. He is, and always will be, doin’ it his way:
You might also like
More from Editorial/Opinion
News is a driving force in todays society, it's how we get our information. Serial entrepreneur Saqib Malik recognized that and …
Having always been an advocate for those without voices or the misunderstood, and big on mental health, Mozzy uses his …
Rising Compton artist Holland Izz just shared his latest video titled "Testimony." It's the first offering from his upcoming EP, …