There are a strong number of people who stare defiantly into the narrative that Illmatic is Nas‘ best album, instead proudly voicing their vote for his sophomore album It Was Written. Twenty-four years removed from its initial release, it feels as if It Was Written continues to age gracefully, further validation that Nas is one of hip-hop’s greatest of all time in a variety of departments. And while he’s widely regarded as a lyrical genius, some have raised eyebrows about his beat selection — rich, considering the man secured an instrumental from Dr. Dre.
On the somber banger “Nas Is Coming,” the tone is set in the opening moments, where both parties decide to put the East vs West feud aside and simply focus on the music. As expect, Nas wastes little time in getting into the zone, his imagery impeccable from his opening bars onward. “The Golden Child chop that ass up, you was holding out, let the streets be the court and corners hold the trial,” he spits. “Fatal not fictitious, I rock the cable ’86 shit / foreign cars young with crazy bitches.”
A memorable experience through and through, and one of many to stem from It Was Written — an album that somehow remains underrated, despite being hailed as a classic by many. Revisit Nas and Dre’s lone collaboration now, and sound off below — do you count this among Nas’ best tracks?
In the black limo, Jack Daniels through the cracked window
I spot the fake, red dot his face like a Hindu
Snatched the symbol, tied his hands to make examples
Substantial amounts you owe to the firm
Crew, Firm affiliation, paper chasing
Chips glossy, rich Pablo Escabano
Sophisticado, blazing hollows like Saddles