After years of anticipation, Nas’ shelved album, “I Am… The Autobiography,” is finally getting an official release. This long-lost gem, originally intended as a double-disc version of the Queensbridge rapper’s 1999 LP, is making its commercial debut on vinyl. The album is set to drop on November 24 as part of Record Store Day’s 2023 Black Friday event.
The vinyl release of “I Am… The Autobiography” will include two unreleased tracks and “many other rarities that have been on limited vinyl and 12-inch previously,” as noted in the product description. This special edition will come in deluxe packaging and be limited to just 4,100 copies.
“I Am… The Autobiography” was originally conceived as a double-disc concept album, chronicling Nas’s life from birth to death and rebirth, featuring a different and longer tracklist. However, before its intended release in April 1999, over a dozen tracks leaked, making it one of the first major label rap albums to fall victim to MP3 bootlegging. This forced Nas and his label, Columbia, to reconfigure the record and abandon the narrative-driven concept.
Some of the unreleased songs from this project found their way onto Nas’s later works, including his November 1999 LP “Nastradamus” and the 2002 compilation “The Lost Tapes.”
Despite the bootlegged version’s adoration, “I Am… The Autobiography” still made an impact. It debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 with nearly half a million first-week sales, marking Nas’s commercial peak. The album also garnered interest from Nipsey Hussle, who had plans to create a documentary about it before his tragic murder in 2019. Nas had given his blessing for the documentary, revealing his willingness to explore this chapter of his career.