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It Was Written [Explicit]

July 2, 1996 | Format: MP3

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Customer Reviews

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By Matt VINE VOICE on October 28, 2005
Format: Audio CD
People lend so much street credibility to the Illmatic CD - which it no doubt deserves. Yet "It Was Written" was an equally impressive album for the time it was released. To me, this is ALMOST as much a classic as Illmatic was.

Starting with "The Message", this album is a journey into the mind of one of the most prolific lyricists hip hop has ever known.

"Street Dreams" samples the same song sampled for countless hip hop tracks (most notably 2Pac for All Eyez On Me). No other has done it so well.

"I Gave You Power" is a DJ Premier track. Classic Primo. An extremely catchy loop used to classic Primo drumwork. Nas tells the story of a gun (from the gun's vantage point), which is an interesting and creative concept that makes for a dope track.

"Affirmative Action", with the original Firm ensemble (with Cormega), is the world's official introduction to the Firm (then Nas, AZ, Foxy and Cormega - which became Nas, AZ, Foxy and Nature). This is a great track from beginning to end, with no weak point. Tight beat, great opening from AZ to Mega Montana straight through to the extended finish by Foxy Brown.

"Take It In Blood", "Shootouts", "If I Ruled The World" and "Silent Murder" (Bonus Track) were all notable additions to the album.

As far as hip hop albums go, this is almost as good as it gets. A solid contribution to the game by Nas. If you love hip hop, you own this album.
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Format: Audio CD
Even some hardcore Nas fans sleep on how classic this album is. True, Illmatic is, and will always be not just Nas' greatest album, but Hip-Hop's greatest album as well. But with It was Written, Nas displays a creativity that exceeds any other album in the genre. His story-telling is flawless. Many sleep on the stories he tells throughout the album:

-2nd verse-The message, with a timeless quotable: A thug changes, and love changes, and best friends become strangers

-Of course, the brilliant extended metaphor, I Gave You Power rapped from the perspective of a gun. Also notice how the skit at the end of Street Dreams leads straight into it. Brialliant!

-last verse-watch Dem Niggaz-I slept on this story until I listened close enough. "The old timers, advise you to the drama that's ahead drama with the feds, not listnening just bobbing your head. Nas paints pictures with his words.

-The Set Up

-First verse-Suspect, which I believe is the best story he tells on the album. I can imagine a movie scene because he paints the picture so vividly.

That only tells half the story though. (no pun intended) The production is top notch. Nas was laced with beats that match his vocals almost perfectly.

2.The Message-10/10 Great beat and sick lyrics. "1 life, 1 love, 1 king

3.Street Dreams-10/10 Classic beat, with the lyrics to match

4.I gave You Power-10/10 Classic concept song

5.Watch Dem Niggaz-10/10 Slept on classic with mellow beat. "I got no game it's just some b****es understand my story"

6.Take It In Blood-10/10 Another Classic with scratches on the hook, classic beat and Nas kills it.

7.Nas is Coming-9.
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Format: Audio CD
When this album first came out in 1996, there were negative reviews about this LP because they claimed it was not better than his 1994 debut album "Illmatic". They are completely wrong. I gotta say this album is simply amazing, a CLASSIC! People who thinks this album is wack probably listens to Eminem, 50 cent or Nelly. This album is just dope. Anywayz, I feel that this album should deserve more credit as being a CLASSIC, cuz there are no albums in the last couple years that could actually match the brilliance of Nas' lyrics and unorthodox flow. Nas has one thing that many rappers these days lack, and that is substance. When all the other rappers are rappin about girls, money and sex. Nas raps about deep essential things such as life, street stories and knowledge. This album is little more mafioso than his other releases, it's still AMAZING! Everyone get this album.

1. Intro- Worth listening to. It's aite.

2. The Message - Amazing song, some consider this song to be a diss towards Tupac, however still amazing. A+

3. Street Dreams- Pretty cool song, kinda commerical for my taste, stil amazing though. B+

4. I gave you Power- WOW!!!!...Just AMAZING!!!...Possibly the most creative rap song ever. Nas raps about his unique perspective as a gun. WOW! A++

5. Watch Dem Niggas- Kinda boring track. Foxy's chorus is kinda annoying, good lyrics though. B-

6. Take in Blood- Another good track. I love the beat in this song. A

7. Nas is Coming- A song that attempted to stop the east coast vs. west coast rap war. It has an annoying chorus. i don't really like this song. B-

8. Affirmative Action- The Firm's first song. Sick verses by AZ, Cormega, Nas and even Foxy makes this song hot. A+

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Format: Audio CD
First off, we ALL know that this is not like Illmatic. Different producers, different style of production, but still the same old Nas. His sophmore cut is almost as good as his debut, but just a little bit short. And I mean a little. The only track I choose to skip is the Album Intro, but I still give it a listen once in a while.
The Message was the only diss to 2Pac that was actually worth listening to. 2Pac will always be my favorite MC but this is one of the best tracks that Nas has ever dropped, and the same goes for Affirmative Action. Like usual, Nas puts down a track with a real original theme. This time is the banga called I Gave You Power, where Nas writes a first-person account of a gun. Black Girl Lost is a real deep song that is probably my 3rd favorite track on the album behind The Message & Affirmative Action. You also got the 1996 anthem If I Ruled The World which is still a pretty hot track. Street Dreams features R. Kelly and is another one of the best tracks on here.
If you are looking for an album that follows Illmatic's blueprint (no Jay-Z reference intended), then this is not the album you want to turn to. This album molded Nas into what he was before he turned a little commercial-friendly. It Was Written is definitly worth owning, not just hearing. Even the tracks I didn't mention are bangers.
Below is my track rating (1-5):
1. Album Intro - 3
2. The Message - 5
3. Street Dreams - 4.5
4. I Gave You Power - 5
5. Watch Dem Niggas - 4
6. Take It In Blood - 5
7. Nas Is Coming - 5
8. Affirmative Action - 5
9. The Set Up - 4
10. Black Girl Lost - 5
11. Suspect - 4
12. Shootouts - 5
13. Live Nigga Rap - 4.5
14. If I Ruled The World - 5
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