Label: Ill Will, Columbia

Too often, Nas albums get lambasted for either being bloated or littered with questionable production. So when The Lost Tapes-a collection of I Am... and Stillmatic leftovers—arrived in 2002 with a mere 11 tracks and choice beats from Alchemist, L.E.S., and others, fans and critics alike were excited. Sure enough, Nas delivered, and then some.

Ask any diehard fan of the Queensbridge spitter to name their favorite Nas albums and The Lost Tapes most certainly places in their top three. And why not? For a compilation, it's surprisingly cohesive and brimming with choice lyrical exercises and narratives. It's no wonder that so many fans are calling for a second installment, which may or may not ever surface. — Andrew Martin

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