Date: Early 1996

Nas' Illmatic is one of the best rap albums of all time. Twenty years after its release, it still holds up. But it didn't sell all that well when it was first released, despite all of the accolades it received. So when Nas started working on his second album, It Was Written, he parted ways with his manager MC Serch and hired Stoute instead. That led to Nas making a stronger push to market himself to the masses-with Stoute's help-and ultimately forced Nas to start producing more radio-friendly songs on his albums.