I Amâ€¦ is the third studio album by American rapper Nas, released April 6, 1999 on Columbia Records. Following the commercial and critical success of 1996’s It Was Written, Nas put to work on a double album that merged the styles of his first two albums and detailed entire aspects of his life. But a majority of the material leaked onto the internet in MP3 format, forcing him to record new material for a single-disc release. The album debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200, selling over 470,000 copies in its first week. I Amâ€¦ would later be certified Double Platinum in the United States, making this Nas’ second best-selling release behind It Was Written. Upon its release, I Am… received generally positive reviews from music critics.
This album was originally to have been a double album titled I Am…The Autobiography, however most of the original sessions were bootlegged forcing Nas to discard many songs and adjust the release to one disc. I Am…became one of the first major label releases to be widely leaked using MP3 technology. Some of the leaked songs were later released on the compilation LP The Lost Tapes in 2002. The concept of this album as can be seen by tracks such as “Fetus” from The Lost Tapes was to be an autobiography of sorts for Nas. Although several bootleg versions have appeared on the internet over the years, an official version of the intended double album has never leaked and it remains unclear whether or not it was ever completed.