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Nas, Foxy Brown, AZ, and Nature Present The Firm: The Album was finally released in 1997 to mixed reviews.The album failed to live up to its expected sales, despite being certified platinum, and the members of the group disbanded to go their separate ways.Nas, the poetic sage of the Queensbridge projects, was hailed as the second coming of Rakim—as if the first had reached his expiration date.[...] Nas never became 'the next Rakim,' nor did he really have to. The sublime lyricism of the CD, combined with the fact that it was delivered into the crucible of the boiling East-West conflict, quickly solidified [his] reputation as the premier writer of his time.
MTV ranked him at #5 on their list of "The Greatest MCs of All Time".In mid-1992, Nas was approached by MC Serch of 3rd Bass, who became his manager and secured Nas a record deal with Columbia Records during the same year.Nas made his solo debut under the name of "Nasty Nas" on the single "Halftime" from MC Serch's soundtrack for the film Zebrahead.Nas also parted ways with manager MC Serch, enlisted Steve Stoute, and began preparation for his second LP, It Was Written, consciously working towards a crossover-oriented sound.It Was Written, chiefly produced by Tone and Poke of Trackmasters, was released in mid-1996.