It Was Written: Nas’ Book of Rhymes References

The rhyme notebook may be going the way of the buffalo, but writing isn’t lost on Nas. The Queens lyricist has a rich history of documenting his writing process, even dedicating an entire song to it, “Book of Rhymes,” on 2002′s God’s Son. Though smartphones have seemingly become the go-to device for anyone who still writes (rather than building rhyme schemes in their heads a la Jay-Z), Nas has continued to make references to his rhyme book. Through he’s clearly still writing lines down, no one actually knows if he’s traded his notebook for a blackberry. As we cross our fingers hoping Nas hasn’t given up on the writing method he’s helped romanticize so much, XXL lists some of the most memorable rhyme book references he’s made throughout his career.— XXL Staff

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    “It's only right that I was born to use mics/and the stuff that I write, is even tougher than dykes”— “NY State of Mind,” <em>Illmatic</em> (1994)
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    “I sip the Dom P, watchin Gandhi til I'm charged/Then writin in my book of rhymes, all the words pass the margin— “The World Is Yours,” <em>Illmatic</em>(1994)
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    “The mind activation, react like I'm facin time like/'Pappy' Mason with pens I'm embracing”— “The World Is Yours,”<em>Illmatic </em>(1994)
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    “So I be ghost from my projects/I take my pen and pad for the week I know”— “One Love,” <em>Illmatic</em> (1994)
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    “Right, right, what up niggaz, how y'all, it's Nasty the villain/I'm still writin rhymes but besides that I'm chillin—“One Time 4 Your Mind,” <em>Illmatic</em> (1994)
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    “Heine(ken) Dark drinker, represent the thinker/My pen rides the paper, it even has blinkers”— “One Time 4 Your Mind,” <em>Illmatic</em>(1994)
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    “Never plan to stop, when I write my hand is hot/And expand alot from the Wiz to Camelot”— “One Time 4 Your Mind,” <em>Illmatic</em> (1994)
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    “I now try hardest to serve my maker/What I learnedfind it's way on the paper, so I could dictate it”— “Ghetto Prisoners,” <em>I Am</em> (1999)
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    “I'm a poor man's dream, a thug poet/Live it, and I write down and I watch it blow up— “Nas Is Like,” <em>I Am</em> (1999)
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    “It ain't wrong, take a blank piece of paper, a pen paint songs/Type colorful, writin that shit a thug'll do”— “Nature Shines,” I Am (1999)
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    “Century 21 solar eclipse/While you listenin' to the words that I wrote on the disc”— “Nastradamus,” <em>Nastradamus</em> (1999)
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    “All I need is one blunt, one page, and one pen”— “Rule,” <em>Stillmatic</em> (2001)
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    Y'all know that's my style, to hit you at the right time/No other compares to what Nas write down”— “One Mic,” <em>Stillmatic</em> (2001)
  • Nas-Foul-Breeze
    “Yo, I'm sittin' behind these prison walls/I got this pen and pad wishin' on a visit, God “— “My Country,” <em>Illmatic</em> (2001)
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    “They shootin'! -- Aw made you look/You a slave to a page in my rhyme book”— “Made You Look,” <em>God’s Son </em>(2002)
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    “Jungle got shot, Will died, we was warring/I wrote it in my album”— Last Real Nigga Alive- <em>God’s Son </em>(2002)
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    “I'm the type of nigga that write rhymes right on the spot in the studio— “Book Of Rhymes,” <em>God’s Son</em> (2002)
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    “Damn I wish I took more time to write in my book of rhymes”— “Book Of Rhymes,” <em>God’s Son</em> (2002)
  • Nas-8
    “Said, ‘Mr. Jones please come get your child/'Cause he's writin' mad poems and his verses are wild"— “Briding The Gap-,” <em>Street’s Disciple</em> (2004)
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    “I heard the beat and I ain't know what to writeFirst line, should it be about the hos or the ice?“Four-four's or black christ? Both flows would be nice/Rap about big paper or the black man's plight/At the studio consol asked my man to the right/What this verse sound like, should I freestyle or write?/ He said, ‘Nas, what the fans want is Illmatic, Stillmatic’/Picked up the pad and pencil and jotted what I feel”— Kanye West’s “We Major,” <em>Late Registration</em> (2005)
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  • Word to the Editor

    Aye XXL you getting lazy, this like the third article this week

    “still writing _liens_ down”

  • BigT

    Greatest MC of all time. Period.


    Greatest lyricist yes MC no

  • oskamadison

    Can we get like…an interview?

  • Dick B.

    This is a disappointment. I thought this was gonna be something of a interview with Nas explaining them like the “Decoded” book by Jay. This is dumb.

  • Donte

    ok some of the lyric’s are not from the songs you are mentioning(songs are on here but wrong rhyme)

    the only full rhyme on here is late registration(or i dont know what a full rhyme is lol)

  • Donte

    and yall forgot about this … mic-Jesus died at age 33, thats 32 shots from twin glocks which meant one of mine was holdin 17. 32 hit your crew 6 went into you, eveybody smh to me he the best ever…..

  • $yk

    y’all just couldn’t resist throwing up a slideshow huh?


    the last post is good enough…

    • oskamadison

      For real, $yk, what’s going on up there? Where’s Ron Mexico when you need him?

      • $yk

        idk fam…

        a lot of these posts are so weak you can’t comment if you tried

        it done went from to harris-pub university online

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  • Tshilidzi

    This post is laaaaaaaaaaaaaammmmmmeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

    Nas stillmatic though n well worth the weight in claiming the weight!

    He letting both Jay n Em getting away with it quite easily though,just my thoughts.

  • phase one

    Escobar is the illest individual ever to check a mic

  • pimpnastyfunk

    Im pretty sure the first ones supposed to say “the shit that i write is even tougher than dice” not dykes

  • qbg

    You used a Nature quote as a Nas line on Nature’s Shine. Idiots

  • StokeNSmoke

    I always thought it was funny that in the “It Was Written” booklet with all the lyrics written, how many were just plain wrong, even the easy ones. Not to mention they put Nas’ alternate 3rd verse from “Watch Dem Niggas” instead of the original and titled part of Foxys “Affirmitive Action” verse under “Nas” (though he did write it for her).

    Just a thought.