Trackmasters may not have the most Nas placements under their belt, but its tough to argue that they don't have some of the finest. The production duo, made up of Poke and Tone, were instrumental in crafting the Queens MC's follow up to his landmark debut album, Illmatic
. That release, It Was Written
, which hit stores two years after Nas' first classic, brought a different sound (more mainstream) and approach (Nas Escobar) to fans, and hit No. 1 on the Billboard
200, thanks in part to the production. The duo delivered Nas his breakout hit, "If I Ruled The World (Imagine That)" alongside Lauryn HIll, which remains one of his most celebrated songs a decade and a half later. Their contribution to other favorites from the project, like "Street Dreams," "The Message" and "Black Girl Lost," continued to display a shinier, more accessible sound than Nas had previously rapped over, but remained authentically hip-hop in its essence. Though they never again worked as extensively as they did on that album, Trackmasters continued to lace Esco on I Am...
, and The Lost Tapes
. Their greatest accomplishment, though, was helping bring Nas to a larger audience while ensuring he didn't hit a sophomore slump.
Album Appearances (1pt):
4 = 4 pts
Officially Released Singles (2pts):
5 = 8 pts
Grammy Nominations (3pts):
1 = 3 pts
Top 40 Singles on Billboard Hot 100 (4pts):
2 = 8 pts
Signature Track(s) (5pts):
5 = 25 pts “The Message,” “Street Dreams,” “Black Girl Lost,” “If I Ruled The World (Imagine That),” “Hate Me Now”
Click here to see Nas’ No. 3 Go-To Producer, and stay tuned as XXL reveals Nas’ Best Go-To Producers throughout the week.