The follow-up to his landmark debut Illmatic, It Was Written boasted his hits “The Message,” “Street Dreams” and “If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)” featuring Lauryn Hill. The album also had appearances by Mobb Deep, Dr. Dre, Foxy Brown and the debut of the Firm, the hip-hop supergroup of Nas, Foxy Brown, AZ and Cormega.
Out July 2nd — the actual 25th birthday of the album, released July 2nd, 1996 — the digital expanded reissue also includes the cassette-only bonus track “Silent Murder” (out digitally for the first time) as well as a version of “Street Dreams” that includes a bonus verse.
Additionally, reissue label Get On Down will reissue the album as a 2LP “silver & clear galaxy effect” colored vinyl as well as an old-school cassette with an original 8 panel J-Card featuring lyrics housed in a custom slip case. A 7″ colored vinyl of the “The Message”/ “Street Dreams (bonus version)” is also available to preorder now via Get It Down ahead of the physical reissue’s release in September.
To mark the anniversary, Sony Music has re-uploaded It Was Written’s “If I Ruled The World (Imagine That)” and “Street Dreams” music videos in high resolution quality, as well as shared a short documentary about the 1996 LP:
It Was Written Expanded Edition Track List
1. Album Intro
2. The Message
3. Street Dreams
4. I Gave You Power
5. Watch Dem Niggas (featuring Foxy Brown)
6. Take It In Blood
7. Nas Is Coming (featuring Dr. Dre)
8. Affirmative Action (featuring AZ, Cormega and Foxy Brown)
9. The Set Up (featuring Havoc)
10. Black Girl Lost (featuring Joel “JoJo” Hailey)
13. Live Nigga Rap (featuring Mobb Deep)
14. If I Ruled the World (Imagine That) (featuring Lauryn Hill)
15. Silent Murder
16. Street Dreams (Bonus Verse)