Complex Controversy: Nas Illmatic vs. It Was Written

Fri, Feb 7, 2014 at 6:00 AM by User 11 Comments

This April, the hip hop community will celebrate the 20th anniversary of Nas' classic debut album, Illmatic. Released April 19, 1994, the album is cherished as a classic and debated by many as the hip hop bible. Classic production, extraordinary wordplay, and the point of view of a 17 year old teen growing up in the projects seemed to connect with the masses and resonate a feeling of culture in the hip hop youth.


There aren't many arguments against the significance of the album and the talent of the young MC, who was 19 years old when the album was released. Nas created a legacy with Illmatic and fans were eagerly awaiting for the next chapter of that legacy with the release of his sophomore album, It Was Written. Released two years after Illmatic, the album took to appeal to a more mainstream audience and proved to be Nas’ most commercially successful release to date. The album included the iconic track If I Ruled The World (Imagine That) featuring Lauryn Hill, as well as other classics including The Message and Street Dreams.

Both of these albums are special in their own rite and deserve equal praise for the impact they forged during what many consider to be the golden era of hip hop. Complex Magazine weighs in on both albums to decide which album ranks best on their list.

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  1. JULENE avatar

    On Sat, Feb 8, 2014 at 8:28 PM, JULENE said:

    Don't bring up "Nastradamus"......

  2. Maice239 avatar

    On Fri, Jan 24, 2014 at 5:52 PM, Maice239 said:

    I remember growing up listening to these two projects created by the greatest mc of all time. Both are a masterpiece. Pure perfection. But my favorite of the two is It Was Writtin.

  3. MrGaggi avatar

    On Fri, Jan 24, 2014 at 5:46 PM, MrGaggi said:

    Man i remember hearing Nas on live at the bbq and halftime on the zebrahead sountrack, i couldn't wait till his album dropped. I was in the record store every month for about a 1yr checking for that album. That's the only album i replaced multiple times whenever it was lost or stolen. Illmatic is Nas' Sistine chapel. A Masterpiece.

  4. Villan avatar

    On Fri, Jan 24, 2014 at 5:16 AM, Villan said:

    When illmatic came out, it was like the bible,
    When the it was written came out it was the New Testament

  5. geoffreysomers102 avatar

    On Thu, Jan 23, 2014 at 8:05 PM, geoffreysomers102 said:

    i think that this album was one of his best of all time. i think he is still one of the truest rapers that is still out know unlike some of the raper that are coming out

  6. IllyasMuhammad avatar

    On Thu, Jan 23, 2014 at 7:44 PM, IllyasMuhammad said:

    Illmatic! #NewYorkStateOfMind
    This album changed hip hop forever!

  7. Laylo087 avatar

    On Thu, Jan 23, 2014 at 7:19 PM, Laylo087 said:

    the song was life's a B

  8. Laylo087 avatar

    On Thu, Jan 23, 2014 at 7:18 PM, Laylo087 said:


  9. Laylo087 avatar

    On Thu, Jan 23, 2014 at 7:16 PM, Laylo087 said:

    Hands Down > I'm from the Southside of Chicago !!! Had the album when it can out an still play it everyday /REAL TALK/ !!! I'm 36 yrs old !!! I Remember I was on 79th st. 2 months ago Playing > an this young dude came to me an said: (Who is that) >> I said: (NAS) He said: (is that new ) >> I said (when was you born) He said (92) >> I said ( the album came out in 94 you was 3 yrs old ) So I told him to get it an listen to it

  10. rigo avatar

    On Thu, Jan 23, 2014 at 6:40 PM, rigo said:

    illmatic, no doubt!

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