See his exhibit B, 1996’s It Was Written, which will be celebrating its 25th anniversary, on Friday (July 2).
The sophomore effort — which famously followed Illmatic, an album now resting comfortably in the Library of Congress as part of the National Recording Registry, stands as the top-selling album of Nas’ career with a triple-platinum from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
In today’s digital age and streaming era, Legacy Recordings, a division of Sony Music Entertainment has compiled an expanded 25th-anniversary edition of the album, widely known for its hit singles, the Lauryn Hill-featured “If I Ruled The World (Imagine That)” and “Street Dreams,” which classically masters the same beat as 2Pac’s “All Eyez On Me.”
The new version of It Was Written will sport all 14 original songs, as well as the bonus tracks – the previously cassette-only “Silent Murder” and “Street Dreams” with a long-lost verse attached.
Vinyl heads will be able to obtain a double-LP set featuring all the album’s lyrics encased in a custom slipcase, designed to harken back to the “old school” feel of the days when ripping packaging of albums and immediately scanning the liner notes was a tradition.
A 7″ single of “The Message” b/w “Street Dreams” (extended version) housed and a special edition cassette are also offered in a special 25th-anniversary bundle (projected to ship in September).
Originally released on July 2, 1996 via Columbia Records, the Billboard 200-topping album also featured guest appearances from Dr. Dre, Foxy Brown, AZ, and Cormega – who would all lay the foundation for The Firm, one Hip Hop’s first commercially successful supergroup projects.
Mobb Deep rappers Prodigy and Havoc, DJ Premier, Kid Capri, Trackmasters, Illmatic producer L.E.S. and many more also contributed to the album.
Revisit the original It Was Written below ahead of its re-release. Music videos for “If I Ruled The World (Imagine That)” and “Street Dreams” will be upgraded to high-definition and will premiere on July 2 alongside the album.