"I Gave You Power"
It Was Written (1996)
That was one of the fastest songs I wrote to get started, but I don’t think I finished it all in one day. I wanted to just draw from nowhere and just go in. You think of street experiences and you write about it; you don’t even think. I didn’t think much about it, but I didn’t have to, you know? The song just had to be made; I just needed to get that done to get to the next song. I thought it was a cool song for me. I enjoyed it and I thought a few people would like it; it turned out a lot more people liked it than I expected. It was my personal record for me and I didn’t really think outside of me when I wrote it.
Not to sound funny, but I had better ideas than that that I never did because I knew they were songs that would be for me and I thought no one else would give a fuck. They were never recorded and I forgot what they were. I still feel like I could channel that person, though, if it comes down to it; that guy in me; that writer. It may not be received in a great or big way, but I would love it.
Saying "Nas goes mainstream" on It Was Written is an easy way of looking at it, but it was a lot more complicated than that. I started that record and the record leaked, so I had to get a new game plan because I didn’t know who I can trust and who I can record with where the songs wouldn’t leak and who would see my bigger vision. I was starting to hear my influence on a lot of rappers that were making names for themselves and I had to figure out a way to survive because if rap fans would say, "Well everybody sounds the same, doing the same thing," then it’s over for you.
So how do you make yourself different enough and boost yourself up on the level that you’re on if people are trying to sound like you or talk like you? Our task was to get over what they called back then, the sophomore jinx. So I needed real producers. Notorious B.I.G. had serious production. My first album had serious production, but I had already worked with them, so I needed to do something that would be next level because the game had become more serious on every level.