It Was Written

It Was Written

It Was Written is loaded with lyrics so intricate, you can envision them scribbled in shabby composition books. The result is an album that plays out like a panoramic shot of both the circa-’90s projects and the mind of a brilliant storyteller. Tales like “The Message” and “Street Dreams” are as rough as they are reflective, but Nas still has a way of casually breezing over beats—whether he’s observing the war zone from inside or, on “If I Ruled the World,” dreaming of a way out.

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