[Verse 1] He was listening to it but when the drums kicked it he went bananas. 96 ways I made out, Montana way I never sleep, ‘cause sleep is the cousin of death Jay was fronting hard with the Lexus, at the time, in his videos and there was a little rivalry brewing. Dipped attache, jump out the Range, empty out the ashtray Who want it? There ain't an army that could strike back But Nas didn’t really know what we knew, which was that we come from the underground. I was so caught up in the flow that he was putting on it that I didn’t even listen to what he was actually saying. I ain't the type of brother made for you to start testin' It hadn’t really started yet, but it was brewing.”, Poke: “He definitely was referring to New York as a whole with that one king line. You had so many different artists and things happening in hip-hop. And yo, nobody in my hood got one Somethin' told me "Plug him!" Black was in the Jeep watchin' The Good F-E-L-L-A, verbal AK spray [Outro: Nas & (AZ)] I had the drop so how the fuck I get clapped? I got stitched up, it went through Be lightin' Ls, sippin' Coors on all floors in project halls I never sleep, ‘cause sleep is the cousin of death I cocked the baby 9, that nigga grave be mine Illmatic, nigga, It Was Written though Layin' up, playin' the yard with crazy shine Party with villains, a case of Demi-Sec Bring the shit, man! At the time, I was a rapper and Nas was a rapper. 32 shotguns, regulate with my dunns Nas, Nas, Nas Yeah Nas, Nas We goin' (We goin') we goin' (We goin') Uh, uh My pants 'posed to sag, yeah We goin' ultra, yeah We goin' ultra black, I gotta toast to that We don't fold or crack (We goin') Occasion, we rose to that, fuck goin' postal (Uh) We goin' ultra black Watchin' the … Similar to his debut LP Illmatic, Nas first begins to rap on his sophomore album It Was Written on the second track “The Message.” The song is considered as one of Nas' best songs and sets the tone for the mafioso concept of the album. You don’t get any more pop than that. Tone: “Nas had always been a friend of mine since ‘Back To The Grill’ with MC Serch. Ther–Ther–Ther–Ther–There ain't an army that could strike back Yo, to the Queensbridge Militia There was a moment where it wasn’t just about being a fly guy with money, it was, “I’m still in the streets. Then they came askin' me my name Crack the legs way out of formation Yo, overnight thugs bug ‘cause they ain't promised shit The picture he on ‘The Message’ that was incredible. We come from Kool G. Rap, Big Daddy Kane, The Real Roxanne. You had Jay Z, Mobb Deep, Raekwon. Everyone was lyrical, everyone would battle you, everyone had a crew. He jumped up like, ‘Oh my God!’ Instantly, he knew the rhyme for the record. To chase the Henny, wet any clique with the semi TEC You would have to read into it to know that he was even talking about Jay.”, Nas Recalls The Time 2Pac Confronted Him About The Lyrics To “The Message”, Fake thug, no love, you get the slug, CB4 Gusto, You freak niggas played out, get fucked and ate out, Dipped attache, jump out the Range, empty out the ashtray, Lex with TV sets the minimum, ill sex adrenaline, Yo, overnight thugs bug ‘cause they ain't promised shit, I never sleep, ‘cause sleep is the cousin of death, I ain't the type of brother made for you to start testin', Layin' up, playin' the yard with crazy shine, So dumb, felt my leg burn, then it got numb, Be lightin' Ls, sippin' Coors on all floors in project halls, Contemplatin' war niggas I was cool with before, We used to score together uptown coppin' the raw, Ther–Ther–Ther–Ther–Ther–There ain't an army that could strike back, Impeach The President by The Honey Drippers (’70s Funk), The Message 2: This Convalescence by Pure Ponder & Jonah Corey. Y'a–Y'all know my steelo We used to score together uptown coppin' the raw Tone: “Nas had always been a friend of mine since ‘Back To The Grill’ with MC Serch. It took me a minute to really realize the picture he was painting. The ‘Lex with TV sets, the mininum,’ that line was directed right at Jay-Z. Everybody was gunning for position. I never sleep, ‘cause sleep is the cousin of death Also, me not being a rapper anymore and producing now, and Nas trusting me producing tracks for him. There's one life, one love, so there can only be one King Fake thug, no love, you get the slug, CB4 Gusto Dug 'em, you owe me, cousin What the fuck? Spun around and shot one [Refrain] Gettin' it on in the world, you know? The highlights of livin', Vegas-style, roll dice in linen So how do we make it that?”. It was at the end of a session, at Chung King, and they were like, ‘What do we work on next?’ I threw the cassette on and the intro had Nas really stuck because we got the intro from Scarface, which was really big for him. Can it be Vanity from Last Dragon? Left the hospital that same night, what Don't give a fuck who they hit as long as the drama's lit Shit is grimy, real niggas buck in broad daylight Grab your gun, it's on though But Nas agreed to give it a shot and we were all excited.”, Poke: “We felt a lot of pressure because Illmatic was a benchmark in hip-hop. I hadn’t really been shot [like I say in the song] but everyone else around me, so I was their voice. 20 G bets I'm winnin' 'em, threats I'm sendin' 'em There was some undertones with him taking little jabs at other rappers in that record. Doin' they thing, survivin', ya know'm sayin'? Y'a–Y'all know my steelo I was in the Jeep sunk in the seat, tinted with heat, beats bumpin' Chickenheads flock I lace 'em, fried broiled with basil taste 'em So dumb, felt my leg burn, then it got numb

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