MC Serch of pioneering Hip Hop group 3rd Bass has decided to sell 100 percent of his holdings in Nas’ iconic catalog, which includes Illmatic (1994) and It Was Written (1996), both of which he executive produced.
“I have decided to sell all of the rights, including the global rights,” he tells AllHipHop. “I started conversations with several companies a few months ago. For 27 years, it has provided my family through good times and bad. Now it’s time for a new chapter.”
Illmatic, often heralded as Nas’ best work, is one of the only rap albums in the Library of Congress and includes songs such as “N.Y. State of Mind,” “The World Is Yours” and “Represent.” It’s not only taught at Harvard University and Oxford University but was also given new life after it was prominently featured in the Netflix series Ozark earlier this year.
Serch estimates both projects combined are still streamed at least 250 million times a year, while Nas currently has more than eight million monthly listeners on Spotify.
Meanwhile, It Was Written was certified triple-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 2021, marking Nas’ highest-selling album. It also spawned the single “If I Ruled The World (Imagine That)” featuring Lauryn Hill, his first No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 single.
Despite Nas’ commercial success and critical acclaim over the course of his career, he didn’t win his first Grammy Award for Best Rap Album until 2021 for King’s Disease, beating out Freddie Gibbs’ and The Alchemist’s Alfredo, Jay Electronica’s It Was Written, D Smoke’s Black Habits and Royce Da 5’9’s The Allegory.
The project debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 with roughly 47,000 total album-equivalent units sold in its first week. Illmatic, on the other hand, peaked at No. 12, while It Was Written landed at No. 1 with more than 270,000 copies sold.
MC Serch and his companies Serchlite Publishing and Serchlite Music (now 4MC MultiMedia) have retained the executive producer rights to Illmatic and It Was Written for nearly three decades.
The sale is being represented by Richard Blackstone, Roger Miller, and Stephen S. Sidman. While Serch hasn’t decided on a buyer quite yet, he’s been fielding offers and expects it to find a home quickly.