Label: Legacy Recordings
Nas captures post-crack N.Y.C. in all its ruinous glory on his landmark 1994 debut. Realizing that drugs were both empowering and destructive, his lyrics alternately embrace and reject the idea of ghetto glamour. "Life's a Bitch" is possibly the saddest hip-hop song ever recorded, while "The World Is Yours" finds optimism in the darkest urban crevices.