Today in Hip-Hop: Nas Drops ‘I Am…’ Album
On this day, April 6, in hip-hop history...
1999: On April 6, 1999, Queens-bred MC Nasir Jones, known simply as Nas, added another notch to his belt in the form of his third studio album, I Am...
Coming off an instant-classic debut with 1994's Illmatic and an equally impressive sophomore LP with It Was Written (1996), critics and rap fans alike had high expectations for the 26-year-old lyricist's next project. When I Am... dropped, it was one of the must-have albums of the year. I Am... debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, selling more than 470,000 copies in the first week. Although some music critics felt I Am... didn't live up to Nas' potential or previous work, Nasty Nas' third album went on to go double platinum.
With a 16-song track listing, I Am... boasted minimal but important features from Aaliyah, Scarface, Puff Daddy and DMX and large production credits from DJ Premier and Nas' longtime collaborator Leshan Lewis, better known as L.E.S. Two of the biggest singles on the album were "Nas Is Like..." and "Hate Me Now" featuring Puff. The video for "Hate Me Now," a song targeted at Nas' critics, caused controversy because it depicted both Nas and Puff being crucified.
Nas'I Am... was meant to be an episodic biography of the rapper's life. In fact, it was originally planned to be a part of a double disc release, the second disc being called The Autobiography, but with so much of the second album's content getting leaked online, the MC scrapped the second album for the time being. To this day some of the material from The Autobiography has been released, but not the entire sound story.
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