Remembering The Forgotten Impact Of Nas’ ‘I Am…’ Album On Its 17th Anniversary

at 2:37 pm | By

There’s another major anniversary coming up this year for Nas in his rap career, but this week, one of his albums, I Am… celebrated its 17th anniversary. Even though most hip hop fans reflect upon the impact of his debut project, Illmatic, there is still a lengthy back story and historical impact that I Am… had on the culture as a whole. April 6, 1999 was a day that Nas fans should not be forgetting about.

nas ‘i am…’ album cover

Credit: Columbia Records

Read more on the impact of Nas’ I Am… album on the following pages.

The backstory

Nas: Time is Illmatic Screening And Live Performance In Oakland

Credit: Kimberly White/Getty Images

The album was originally supposed to be a double disc album, and was intended to be called I Am…The Autobiography. After being leaked to the Internet, and being one of the first to be leaked in MP3 mode at the time, Nas had to make a ton of changes to the track listing, narrowing it down to one disc. Later on, some of the tracks were included in his Lost Tapes project, but fans are still in the grey as far as what the double album was supposed to be finalized as.  

The Tupac/Biggie tribute triggering the Jigga feud

Power 105.1’s Powerhouse 2005: Operation Takeover

Credit: Scott Gries/Getty Images

On the track, “We Will Survive,” Nas pays tribute and homage to Biggie and Tupac, who were both gunned down just a few years before in Los Angeles in the midst of their own beef. On the song, Nas criticizes JAY Z for calling himself “New York’s King” following Biggie’s death, as the two were close with him before he was killed. This is what allegedly sparked the feud between Nas and Hov in 2000, leading to their diss tracks to shake up the game.