Produced By: DJ Premier
Album: I Am...
Label: Columbia

After not releasing a solo album in three years following the huge success of It Was Written, Nas took a risk by making a sequel (more like a remake) to one of his most admired songs. For artists who strive to be the greatest of all-time, messing with your legacy is something to think twice about. Nas took a step in the right direction, however, by again enlisting the same man who created the Illmatic classic, DJ Premier, who makes subtle changes to the original beat.

Lyrically, the Rotten Apple is as grimy as ever, if not more so ("See the sergeant and the captain strangle men/Niggas gaspin' for air 'til they move no more and just stare with dead eyes"), but when it comes to loyalty among crews, things done changed. He does a great job of counting down how he went from eight crime partners down to two (and, yes, it involves snitching, "the snake shit"). Dangerous as ever ("Stick yo' ass up, niggas'll find the loot in your kicks... All of a sudden we got Crips and Bloods"), this New York won't make you feel brand-new, but tired and tight.