It Was Written featured the debut of The Firm, a supergroup consisting of Nas, AZ, Foxy Brown, and Cormega.
The album also expanded on Nas's Escobar persona, who lived more of a Scarface/Casino-esque lifestyle.
Shaheem Reid of MTV News called Illmatic "the first classic LP" of 1994.
Nas, the poetic sage of the Queensbridge projects, was hailed as the second coming of Rakim—as if the first had reached his expiration date.
Nas initially went by the nickname "Kid Wave" before adopting his more commonly known alias of "Nasty Nas".